It has been estimated that droughts are the world’s costliest natural disaster, accounting for a cost of 6-8 billion US dollars annually, and affect more people than any other form of natural disaster (Wilite, 2000). They are considered to be the most far-reaching of all natural disasters, causing short and long-term economic losses as well as significant secondary and tertiary impacts, particularly in the food, water and energy sectors. Droughts are considered to impact nations and countries around the world with dramatic economic and ecologic damage.
To reduce the societal vulnerability to droughts, the initiative aims to reinforce a paradigm shift to overcome prevailing structures of reactive, post-hazard management and implement proactive, risk based approaches of disaster management. Risk based drought management is, however, multifaceted and requires the involvement of a variety of stakeholders, and, from a drought management policy perspective, capacities in diverse ministries and national institutions are needed. Supporting the development of such capacities is at the core of the joint “National Drought Management Policies Initiative” under UN-Water. The objective of this joint initiative is to increase the capacities within the target countries on the development of risk based national drought management policies. This is based on the identification of the capacity needs from national to local levels to develop such policies and implement risk based management strategies.The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in cooperation with the UN-Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development (UNW-DPC) have initiated the Joint Capacity Development initiative on National Drought Management Policies. The project was launched by an international kick-off workshop in Geneva in March 2013, and will be followed by a series of regional workshops in several drought-prone regions worldwide in 2013-2014. After the workshop series, the initiative will close with a final wrap-up conference.
This learning page presents the background documents and other learning materials from the initiative.