The Global Dryland Alliance is a collaborative undertaking of members and partners to make dryland countries food secure.

Dryland countries constitute about 40% of the total land surface of the planet and are home to almost 3 billion people, one third of whom are directly dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods.

Food Security in drylands is at the nexus of livelihoods of poor rural people and adverse ecosystems. Marked by water scarcity along with numerous biophysical and socio economic constraints (including vulnerability to land degradation, marginal soils, extremes in temperatures, droughts and floods, poverty, social inequity, migration, under developed markets, poor governance and investment in agriculture) drylands are producing less than is possible and needed by the populations that depend on these lands for their food. Increased dependence on imported foods and higher food prices as a result of low agriculture productivity also put the poor living in the dryland countries at particular risk to food insecurity.

For these dryland regions, sustainable and integrated strategies for agriculture, water use, food imports and reserves, and food access are an urgent priority. These strategies must be based on innovative scientific and technological research and utilization as well as targeted investments in development.

The challenges facing drylands figure within the agendas of many development agencies and research institutions. The efforts of these countries merit the support of all dryland countries, and should not be duplicated by new undertakings. A need exists, however, for the most severely affected by dryland challenges to collaborate in creating solutions and improving policies to ensure their food security. Inaction to address the food security of drylands with integrated effort will ultimately affect not only the sustenance and development of dryland regions, but ultimately affect the political stability of the region and the world.

Announced by His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani the Emir of the State of Qatar at the 68th United Nations General Assembly, Global Dryland Alliance is “an initiative created to establish an international organization to face food insecurity consequences and negative environmental and economic impacts associated with climate change.”

Global Dryland Alliance (GDA), is an international organization of dryland countries established with the purpose of achieving food security by: sharing knowledge and best practices; assisting in the development of capabilities to prevent food crises; and by providing mutual assistance in times of extraordinary need such as natural or manmade disasters and calamities.

History of GDA

2011

  • Initial documents for the establishment of GDA drafted
  • Participates at COP17 UN Convention on Climate Change (UNCCC)
  • 2012

    • Ambassador Bader Al Dafa is appointed as the Executive Director
    • Holds the first meeting of potential member states of 16 countries, partners and specialized agencies in September in Doha
    • Jointly organizes the Conference on Food Security in Drylands (FSDL) in November in Doha, welcoming over 400 experts representing countries and international organizations
    • Initiates negotiations with financial partners
    • Holds a side event with UNDP and 3 GF in COP18 in December in Doha

    2013

    • In coordination with Islamic Development Bank, holds Expert Group Meeting in Jeddah to address challenges to food security in dryland countries
    • Qatar’s commitment to GDA emphasized during the 67th United Nations General Assembly in the speech of His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar

    2014

    • Holds a high level side event in UN General Assembly in September in New York
    • Meets with potential Member States i.e President of Namibia, President of Tanzania, President of Tunisia, Bahraini Minister of Foreign Affairs, Burkina Faso Minister of Foreign Affairs, Namibian Minister of Environment, former President of Finland, and Director of International Cooperation and Organisations in Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry
    • Meets in April with FAO Director General and WFP Executive Director

    2015

    • Holds a Diplomatic Corps Reception to present the latest updates on the official launch of GDA
    • Organizes Ministerial Meeting of potential member states in Marrakesh, Morocco to discuss the draft Treaty of Establishment and other agreements
    • Organizes panel discussion on “Desertification and Food Security: Risks and Opportunities” at the sidelines of the EXPO Milano 2015