National Drought Management Policy Guidelines: A Template for Action
The implementation of a drought policy based on
the philosophy of risk reduction can alter a nation’s approach to drought management by reducing the associated impacts (risk). This was the idea that motivated the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with a number of UN agencies, international and regional organizations, and key national agencies, to organize the High- level Meeting on National Drought Policy (HMNDP), which was held in Geneva from 11 to 15 March 2013. The theme of the HMNDP was ‘Reducing Societal Vulnerability – Helping Society (Communities and Sectors)’.
The spiralling impacts of drought on a growing number of sectors is cause for significant concern. No longer is drought primarily associated with the loss or reduction of agricultural production. Today, the occurrence of drought is also associated with significant impacts in the energy, transportation, health, recreation/tourism and other sectors. Equally important is the direct impact of water shortages
on water, energy and food security. With the current and projected increases in the incidence of drought frequency, severity and duration as a result of climate change, the time to move forward with a paradigm shift from crisis to risk management is now. This approach is directed at improving the resilience or coping capacity of nations to drought.
The outcomes and recommendations emanating
from the HMNDP are drawing increased attention
to this issue from governments, international and regional organizations, and non-governmental organizations. One of the specific outcomes of
the HMNDP was the launch of the the Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP) by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and and the Global Water Partnership (GWP). The IDMP is addressing these concerns with a number of partners with the objective of supporting stakeholders at all levels by providing them with policy and management guidance through globally coordinated generation of scientific information and sharing best practices and knowledge for integrated drought management. The IDMP especially seeks to support regions and countries to develop more proactive drought policies and better predictive mechanisms and these guidelines are a contribution to this end.