Securing Rights and Restoring Lands for Improved Livelihoods

Securing Rights and Restoring Lands for Improved Livelihoods

Better ecosystem management for four dryland regions in the Middle East and Africa

This project shows how important community decision-making is for sustainable land management. Herders have rich knowledge and institutions that are centuries old, but which have been weakened in recent times. They are highly motivated to revive cultural practices to manage the land, and are driven by a love of their natural environment as well as the urgent need to develop more stable incomes.

Jonathan Davies, Drylands Coordinator IUCN


The Jordan Badia (an area of arid and semi-arid drylands) extends over 90% of Jordan’s landscape, with Bedouins and other villages using it for livestock grazing as part of their main economic activity. Traditional grazing systems have declined over the years, subjecting the lands to a number of environmental pressures that further stem from industrialisation, urbanisation and agricultural intensification. Rangelands are degraded, productivity is low, biodiversity is threatened, and traditional practices of seasonal rotation and resting are abandoned.


  • Overall objective: Poverty reduced and key dryland ecosystem services restored and sustainably managed in Botswana (Kgalagadi District), Jordan (Zarqa River Basin), Mali (Mopti Region), and Sudan (Kassala and Gedaref States).
  • Specific objective: The conservation, restoration and sustainable management of ecosystem services, as the basis for improved livelihoods, achieved through more secure rights, better management, and enhanced income generation opportunities in four diverse dryland areas in Botswana, Jordan, Mali, and Sudan.


  • Rangeland rehabilitation on 1000 hectares of communal rangeland, scaling up nationally to 100 000 by 2020 (post EC-funding).
  • Land management rights negotiated by participating communities over state-held lands (including women’s land rights).
  • Revival of customary institutions (Hima) for rangelands governance and management.
  • Women’s groups marketing medicinal plants from rehabilitated rangelands, livestock production raised through increased rangeland vegetation.
  • Revision of Jordanian National Rangeland Strategy, emphasising community-based approaches.



  • 4 Participatory Rapid Assessments (PRA) produced, one for each community
  • 4 Local Strategy Plans produced, one for each community
  • Two studies: on marketing analysis and economic valuation
  • 2 documentaries aired on local Jordan TV; 4 participatory videos produced (one for each community); 1 overall documentary
  • 6 newsletters and 2 case studies produced
  • 1 accountability report produced


Ms. Khatmah Al Omoush, local community member for Bani Hashem Hima Management Organisation

Revitalising natural vegetation such as artemisia and germander created many job opportunities for women in the area, improved their economic livelihoods as well as their role in the development of the region."

The women cultivate the plants, including medicinal herbs such as Teucrium, Artemisia and Achillea. They dry them, grind them and place them in a machine that fills tea bags. The project produced boxes for the tea bags, with labels describing the properties of the herbs. Teucrium can be used to relieve stomach aches and cramps; Artemisia is used to treat colds and flu symptoms.

(photo credits: Amer Maadat and Lara Nassar, IUCN Regional Office for West Asia)