Résumé : The Semi-arid Brazilian region has always been regarded as the problem region of Brazil. It has always accumulated significant disabilities. In the field of agricultural development, the modernization of rural areas, based on the green revolution, continues to guide public actions, despite setbacks. However, an alternative project, based on the “convivência” with the Semi-Arid (living with aridity) and agro-ecology has emerged over the last twenty years. This project, supported by the ASA, the articulation of the Semi-arid region, has profoundly changed the productive systems, power relations and public policies implemented in the region. It is this evolution that we describe, focusing on conditions that allowed these changes, and on the characterization of some public policies co-constructed between civil society and the State. We show that the Semi-arid region has become a veritable territory of public action and not just a receptacle for programs decided at the national level.