Supporting local environmental and water management initiatives in Central Asia (Drynet 2)

January 2011 – December 2013
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Funding sources
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
€ 1.080.000
Thematic area
Water resources management

Desertification and land degradation are increasingly recognized as drivers both of natural resources depletion and poverty in many affected dryland countries. The affected land is nearly 30% of the earth’s surface and the directly affected people are close to 1.5 billion. In these countries agriculture and rural development are under increasing stress from drought and aridity, exacerbated by climatic and economic change.

Many countries have laws and policies related to land use and management in place. Examples are Forestry Codes, Soil Protection Laws and agricultural policies. Almost all countries world-wide have ratified international conventions such as the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. There is a growing acceptance that these land-use related policies and the issues of desertification and land degradation also need to be mainstreamed into other aid and development structures and processes such as National Development Strategies or Poverty Reduction Strategies, in order to reach the MDGs, especially in drylands.

CSOs, and particularly those from countries affected by drought and degradation, have long been active in the field, working closely with dryland communities on sustainable land management. While their added value as interlocutor between the rural population and decision-makers has been widely recognized, unfortunately this potential is often not realised partly because of poor networking, advocacy and lobbying resources and skills on the part of CSOs. It is also insufficiently reflected or considered in relevant decision-making processes and policy documents.

These capacity gaps were recognized in 2006 by a group of 14 CSOs who came together to form the Drynet network, which over the past 3 years has actively strengthened civil society in more than 15 countries affected by land degradation, and raised public and political awareness in Europe and globally. Building strong CSO platforms that are able to support dryland communities on the one hand and giving coordinated input to relevant development and land use planning processes in their countries on the other hand has been the main aim of the network. A second aim of Drynet has been to build international links between CSOs, so that they can learn from each other’s experiences, share knowledge and together inform the global stakeholders on relevant dryland developments.

The overall goal for Drynet Phase II was to “enable CSOs to play a key role to improved livelihoods of dryland communities through capacity building, knowledge sharing and advocacy”.

Specific joint objectives of the network members:

  • Continue strengthening national platforms for coordination and collaboration regarding sustainable development in drylands (“capacity building”).

  • Articulate local concerns in national and international policy processes (“advocacy”). The goal is to become a consolidated and reliable “speaking partner” for different stakeholders and decision makers and furthermore to ascertain that participatory processes are supported and guaranteed by qualified and consorted input.

  • Act as a knowledge hub for local knowledge and research (“knowledge sharing”). This knowledge hub will strive to connect the knowledge, experience and expertise of practitioners, scientific and political actors.

  • CSOs that support local dryland communities

  • Associations of local people involved in combating desertification

  • Various specialised user groups of natural resources, especially vulnerable groups such as women and youth.

  • Other service providers at the local level (public, private, research institutes, etc)

  • A strong(er) civil society platform for coordination, exchanging, learning and lobbying together, recognized by and in regular dialogue with national institutions, authorities and CSOs in each Drynet country.

  • A pro-active and competent global CSO coalition on land degradation which can interact at international level with (inter)governmental institutions, networks, scientific groups etc, and which is able to bring all the hands-on experience from working with local communities in drylands to the international stakeholders and discussions.

  • CSOs working on land degradation and drylands are better informed on relevant policy processes, are connected and develop capacities to contribute to those policy processes.

  • The Drynet website and communication materials reflect the most relevant information on dryland related issues and the website is seen as a reference point and providing services for the broader range of CSOs and other stakeholders regarding dryland matters.

  • Drynet partners are recognised as “speaking partners”, facilitators and leaders in sustainable dryland development.

  • In each Drynet country, policies and mechanisms are further developed to effectively support dryland communities and ecosystems.

  • Mechanisms are in place to effectively channel resources to deserving grassroots groups enabling them to continue their efforts for sustainable management of drylands resources.

  • Scientific research and civil society actions are better linked in the Drynet countries through collaboration between CSOs and scientists in mini-studies.

Project manager – Ms.Saltanat Zhakenova


 Tel.: +7 727 265 43 33 (ext. 177)