Sustainable land management and desertification control

© GIZ/Michael Martin

Wrong use and climate change are turning more and more land into desert. Together with its partners, GIZ is taking countermeasures.


The figures are alarming: Every year so much land is lost that the loss, converted to the world population, can already be estimated at 60 euros per capita and year. Without countermeasures, the situation will worsen. The 2.5 billion people who live in the world's arid regions are particularly affected. These dry zones make up 40 percent of the land surface. Most of them, 70 percent, threaten to turn into desert. Less and less land brings the benefits that it could bring with sustainable management. In concrete terms, this means that land is overexploited and nothing grows there anymore, soil is lost through erosion, soil fertility decreases and salination increases. Climate change is exacerbating the problem because its effects are particularly severe in arid regions.

International cooperation is taking countermeasures: Land should be used sustainably and soil quality restored. However, these approaches can only be successful if they involve land users and are adapted to local conditions. The decisive factors are the opportunities, needs and capabilities of the people affected.

Based on this approach, GIZ offers its partners support in combating desertification. It includes all stakeholders - from land users to political decision-makers and designers. GIZ wants to anchor its approaches to protection against desertification in international cooperation projects. They should serve as a strategic framework for resource management and sustainable development.

GIZ supports national and international political processes to promote sustainable land use, restore degraded land and adapt land use to climate change. Its guidelines are the objectives of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and the Rio+20 Summit.

Through its expertise, GIZ helps its partners to develop strategies to combat desertification, to anchor them in national policy and to provide budgets for the necessary measures.

The GIZ's most important fields of action:

  • It advises stakeholders and institutions at national and local level on how to take sustainable resource management into account in their decentralised planning.
  • It supports its partners in creating training programmes for both the population and decision-makers and in sensitising everyone to the problem of soil protection.
  • It promotes cross-border cooperation in order to increase the effectiveness of measures to combat desertification. To this end, it arranges regional partnerships and provides expert policy advice.
  • It offers its partners support at many levels: in the development of regional financing strategies, in contributions to international negotiations and in cooperation with international networks such as UN organisations, bilateral donors and regional development banks.

Additional information