Studies on arid areas have traditionally focused mainly on a debate around desertification and were dominated by the natural sciences. This has led to policies narrowly focused on addressing desertification instead of on the broader issues of development in arid areas. Addressing the development issues of arid areas is important, as such areas cover 40% of the earth’s surface and support 20% of its population. The key features related to arid areas are variability, sparse population, low productivity, the 'distant voice' and remoteness. CDS aims to contribute to the debate on development in arid areas through the study of various socio-economic phenomena in arid areas.

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Lizette Pretorius
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