International Network for the Sustainability of Drylands

The RISZA network emerged in 2017 as a CONACYT Thematic Network to promote the adoption of multilateral and interinstitutional collaboration schemes, inclusive of local residents and decision-makers, and to establish robust collaborations with members from Latin America, North Africa, and Southern Europe. After two years, at the end of the federal program, it ceased to be a CONACYT Thematic Network but continued as RISZA with the members of the Advisory Technical Committee to pursue our mission, vision, and objectives. Arid and semi-arid zones cover 47% of the Earth's land surface, where 40% of the human population resides. They constitute one of the world's largest, most diverse, and vulnerable social-ecological systems (SES) susceptible to desertification and climate change.

Additionally, these areas harbor 30% of the world's biodiversity and cultural hotspots, hosting a wealth of traditional ecological knowledge held by peasant farmers, herders, fishermen, and ranchers. The interplay between land degradation, climate change, loss of biodiversity and cultural heritage, and human well-being requires a collective, intersectoral approach through the development of adaptation and mitigation measures for climate change, land degradation control, poverty and inequality reduction, protection of arid/semi-arid ecosystems, and the promotion of sustainable development.


To coordinate inter- and transdisciplinary studies that contribute to the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations' Agenda 2030, thereby increasing the co-produced knowledge from different sectors. This will be done through the identification of regional, national, and international nodes (interinstitutional and intersectoral) in arid/semi-arid areas of Mexico, Latin America, Southern Europe, and North Africa. The network will also establish links with international programs for the development of arid/semi-arid areas, such as FAO, UNEP, ARIDnet, GNDRI, among others, thus contributing to the internationalization of national efforts in research, innovation, and sustainable development.


To be an International Network for Drylands Sustainability that collectively generates knowledge, identifies and implements actions towards sustainable development, while also building human resources and providing beneficial services to society.


  1. To strengthen the development of co-produced knowledge among scientists, members of the public and private sectors, civil associations, and local communities to meet the sustainable development goals in arid/semi-arid areas.
  2. To train and educate human resources focused on sustainable development in arid/semi-arid areas.
  3. To enhance communication, mobility, and information transfer of methods and techniques among the different members of the network at the local, regional, and national levels, as well as with the tripartite platform and other international alliances, to improve education, dissemination, and evaluation of initiatives.
  4. To disseminate and link the achievements of the network to the public sector and society in general.