UCL Grand Challenges


Advancing and Sustaining Progress Towards UN SDGs in African Drylands

This wide ranging collaboration will explore possible pathways and interventions to sustain the groundwater withdrawals necessary to sustain progress to achieving the UN SDGs in the African Drylands

Mary Hinkley © UCL Media Services - University College London

1 September 2021


Grant: Grand Challenges Special Initiatives—UN SDGs: Pathways to Achievement
Year awarded: 2021-22
Amount awarded: £ 9,842 


  • Richard Taylor, Geography
  • Mohammad Shamsudduha, Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction

Advancing and sustaining progress towards UN SDGs in African drylands – crossing disciplinary and international boundaries builds on previous UCL projects. This project recognises that pathways of groundwater replenishment need to be secure in order to advance and sustain progress towards the UN SDGs through groundwater withdrawals in African drylands.

The team will work with in-country collaborators and key stakeholders in Tanzania and Niger to hold targeted, one-day workshops in Dodoma (Tanzania) and Niamey (Niger) focused on sustaining progress towards the UN SDGs to 2030 and beyond using groundwater. The workshops will explore possible pathways and interventions to sustain groundwater withdrawals that recognise the importance of catchment-scale hydrology in generating the ephemeral river discharge replenishing groundwater.

At UCL, we will run a one-day workshop, Advancing and sustaining progress towards UN SDGs in African drylands, to draw out relevant expertise and experience in this geographical context from Departments (e.g. Geography, Anthropology, Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, Economics) and Institutes (e.g. Institute for Global Prosperity, Institute for Sustainable Resources, Development Planning Unit, Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction) across UCL. We will further identify synergies in research agenda and broaden the interdisciplinary participation of UCL scholars.

Planned outputs include policy briefs to inform local decision-making in Tanzania and Niger as well as for wider dissemination and application in drylands across tropical Africa. Workshops held overseas and at UCL will provide opportunities to discuss freshwater demands to meet UN SDGs by 2030, informing larger grant applications for future research.

Impacts and Outputs

  • Awaiting impacts and outputs