Participatory investment planning for environment, water and energy in arid and uncertain environments

April 2016 - December 2016

IIED is working in dryland areas, where water availability is sometimes scarce and unpredictable. Energy options and ecosystem processes also differ from those in more humid environments. These essential environmental characteristics can affect – either positively or negatively – all human activities and the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A community discusses water and energy challenges in Alango, Kenya (Photo: Ibrahim Jarso, Resource Advocacy Program)

In light of this, increasing knowledge of factors affecting ecosystems, water and energy availability and uses can offer critical entry points for the achievement of all other SDGs in the dryland context.

SDGs with added relevance in this context include (see agreed definitions of indicators and targets):

  • 6b: Support and strengthen the participation of local communities 
  • 6.4: Ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity 
  • 7.1 Ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services 
  • 6.1: Achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.

We aim to capture contributions of value to the societies and regional and national economies that planners can achieve through investments at the environment-water-energy nexus.

Supporting dryland scientists and planners

Our work builds on IIED's wealth of experience in participatory assessments of resource conditions and resilience strategies. This is complemented by support to young dryland scientists in universities to explore other emerging research tools and approaches. We apply these tools and approaches to capture contributions of value to the societies and regional and national economies.

We work with partners in dryland environments in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in other dryland environments facing climatic, development and humanitarian challenges. This includes supporting planners and scientists at both local and national levels, as well as through international environment and development planning processes.


Recommendations to the County Government of Isiolo for preparation of a strategic plan on water, energy and climate change, Ibrahim Jarso, Daoud Tari, Caroline King-​Okumu (2017), IIED Report

Additional resources

Further Reading

Cracking the climate-water-energy challenge in the drylands of Kenya, Bashir Jillo, Victor Adaka, Ibrahim Jarso, Abdullahi Shandey, John Kinyanjui, Lordman Lekalkuli, Daoud Tari, Caroline King-​Okumu (2016), IIED Briefing Paper

Distilling the value of water investments, Caroline King-​Okumu (2016), IIED Briefing Paper

Direct use values of climate-dependent ecosystem services in Isiolo County, Kenya, Caroline King-​Okumu, Oliver Vivian Wasonga, Ibrahim Jarso, Yasin Mahadi S Salah (2016), IIED Report

Inclusive green growth in Kenya: opportunities in the dryland water and rangeland sectors, Caroline King-​Okumu (2015), IIED Report