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WHITE PAPER II: Costs and Benefits of Policies and Practices Addressing Land Degradation and Drought in the Drylands
UNCCD, 2013
by: United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

- Drylands are complex social-ecological systems, characterized by non-linearity of causation, complex feedback loops within and between the many different social, ecological, and economic entities, and potential of regime shifts to alternative stable states as a result of thresholds. As such, dryland management faces a high level of uncertainty and unpredictability.
- To strengthen the scientific foundation for sustainable dryland and drought risk management, there is a need for a system approach based on transdisciplinarity with emphasis on participatory research and involvement of practitioners as well as scholars from different scientific disciplines to address problems in an integrated manner.
- A critical means to achieve sustainable dryland and drought risk management is to strengthen resilience through capacity development of individuals, communities, and systems to survive, adapt, and follow a positive trajectory in the face of external and/or internal changes, even catastrophic incidents, and rebound strengthened and more resourceful
while retaining essentially the same functions.
- Another critical means is the application of an ecosystem services approach to ensure proper attention to the dynamic and interlinked provisioning, regulating, supporting, and cultural dryland ecosystem services. The ecosystem services approach has proven particularly useful and challenging for economic valuation of sustainable dryland and drought risk management as a basic tool for direct management purposes as well as policy decision-making.
- Based on a comprehensive literature review of recent peer-reviewed scientific journals complemented with grey literature, this White Paper provides an introduction to current thinking about economic valuation techniques related to different aspects of dryland management and policy-making. The paper highlights the challenges that exist, the different opinions about the best way to address environmental economic valuations, and the many assumptions that need to be clearly identified for each exercise in order to communicate the results efficiently to decision-makers at all levels.

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