"The Sahel has long been vulnerable to drought, impoverishment and food insecurity, as the droughts of the mid-1970s, 1980s and 2005 show.

Over the past 20 years, IIED has run a major programme of work in the Sahel that aims not only to demonstrate the fragility of human and environmental systems, but also to show the remarkable energy and innovation that local people can draw on to adapt and survive in an often hostile setting.

Beyond Any Drought makes clear people’s vulnerability stems from a combination of political, economic and social forces, as well as the impacts of highly variable rainfall.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms the likelihood of higher temperatures for the region over the next few decades.

Current predictions of changes to rainfall in the Sahel are less certain, with forecasts ranging from a drop of 20% to a 20% rise. In either case, more heat will increase evaporation from soils, rivers and lakes, and reduce the value of whatever rain does fall.

For a region already suffering from poverty and drought, such predictions are unwelcome news. Finding ways to help strengthen resilience in human and environmental systems is thus key to helping people adapt to the challenges ahead."

Latest Publications

Exploring Dimensions of Masculinity and Violence

  • Countries: Bosnia and Herzegowina, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro
  • Co-authors: International Centre for Research on Women
  • Published: April 2007

Cities on the brink: Global Poverty in the 21st Century

  • Countries: Bangladesh, Kenya, South Africa
  • Published: June 2006

Counting the cost: Twenty years of war in Northern Uganda

  • Co-authors: Civil Society Organisations for Peace in Northern Uganda
  • Published: March 2006

Where to Now? Implications of changing relations between DFID, recipient governments and NGOs in Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda (2006)

  • Countries: Malawi, Tanzania, United Republic of, Uganda
  • Co-authors: Action Aid
  • Published: January 2006

Too early to declare success: counter-narcotics policy in Afghanistan

  • Countries: Afghanistan
  • Co-authors: Centre on International Cooperation
  • Published: March 2005