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Ecology, equity and economics: reframing dryland policy

Ced Hesse

Opinion paper, 2 pages

Drylands are among the world’s most variable and unpredictable environments. But people here have long learnt how to live with and harness this variability to support sustainable and productive economies, societies and ecosystems. Policymakers have for too long ignored this wealth of experience and expertise with dire consequences. In the face of climate change and increasing uncertainty in the drylands, the need to reframe policy and practice has never been greater. In this opinion, Ced Hesse explains that the future must be built on sound scientific information, local knowledge, informed participation and the wisdom of customary institutions.

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Drylands policy in Africa and Asia usually tries to resolve perceived problems, bringing productivity, order and stability to what policymakers mistakenly see as marginal, disorganised and unstable environments.

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