The Programme is relevant to regional priorities and the international development agenda:
Millennium Development Goals
In September 2000, the MDGs rallied the world around a common 15-year agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty. In 2015, the final MDG Report found that the 15-year effort had produced the most successful anti-poverty movement in history. The Programme contributed to achieving the MDGs in the Arab Region through its focus on the promotion of sustainable livelihoods and poverty alleviation (MDG1), sustainable management of natural resources (MDG7), women empowerment (MDG3) and the mobilization of partners and resources for drylands development (MDG8).
Sustainable Development Goals
By 2030, the demand for food, energy, and water is expected to increase by at least 50%, 45% and 30% respectively. These needs will not be met sustainably unless land productivity is preserved and restored. In this context, a concerted global effort is required to halt and reverse land degradation. UNDP fully commits to this ambitious effort and the Programme aims to contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 15 on “protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably managing forests, combating desertification, and halting and reversing land degradation and halting biodiversity loss” and more specifically to meet Target 15.3 – “By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world.” In supporting the adoption of sustainable land management policies and practices, the Programme will also contribute to other Goals in related areas, including food security (Goal 2), water (Goal 6), and climate change (Goal 13).
Development Priorities of the Region
The Arab Region is considered the world's most water-scarce and is subject to serious land degradation due to a combination of natural and man-made factors. The limited water availability constrains development and is a major source of current and potential conflict. The effects of climate change are already being felt in terms of more frequent and prolonged drought episodes exacerbating desertification and poverty. Programme countries have ratified the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and have requested support for its implementation. The Programme supports its partner countries meet their obligations under the UNCCD, particularly regarding the implementation of priority actions identified in their National Action Plans to Combat Desertification. It is designed to support national development priorities in terms of improving the livelihoods of local communities and the productivity of ecosystems in areas affected by desertification and drought. These areas typically correspond to the poverty pockets in partner countries (e.g. Kasserine in Tunisia, Southern Morocco and Bekaa Valley in Lebanon) and as such, through its action, the Programme promotes inclusive growth and social equity and helps address inequalities in access to resources.
The UNCCD Ten-Year Strategic Plan
Programme interventions are consistent with the Ten-Year Strategic Plan and Framework to Enhance the Implementation of the UNCCD whose vision is to forge a global partnership to reverse and prevent land degradation and mitigate the effects of drought in affected countries and to support poverty reduction and environmental sustainability. Programme objectives are aligned with those of the CCD Strategic Plan, namely: 1) Mobilize partners and resources; 2) Improve the living conditions of affected populations; 3) Improve the productivity of affected ecosystems; and indirectly 4) Generate global environmental benefits (biodiversity, climate change, ecosystem services).
UNDP Strategic Priorities
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. This Programme contributes to global UNDP efforts, particularly in promoting sustainable development in the drylands in terms of poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and women empowerment. This is particularly relevant in the context of the Rio+20 agenda where the Programme, through its integrated development approach, presents a credible programming vehicle in support of the three pillars of sustainable development in the drylands.
Finnish Development Policy
Poverty reduction, MDG achievement, inclusive growth and social equity as well as partner countries’ needs and ownership are key priorities of Finland's development policy. Finland emphasizes the rule of law, democracy, human rights and sustainable development. Supporting marginalized communities, empowering women for a more active role in development and promoting environmental sustainability are of paramount importance to Finland. The Programme contributes to the implementation of Finnish development policy in terms of poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and women empowerment in the drylands. It operates in areas where most of the poor and marginalized live, supports community mobilization, advocates for inclusiveness on the national development agenda and facilitates access to markets and resources. It thus contributes to the objective of inclusive and pro-poor growth and to fulfilling Finnish obligations under the UNCCD.