UN rallies to combat global drought

Four UN institutions have launched a project aimed at increasing water capacities and developing risk based water management policies to tackle drought around the world.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in cooperation with the UN-Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development (UNW-DPC), yesterday initiated the Joint Capacity Development Project on National Drought Management Policies.

The initiative will enable national institutions and ministries to assess their current national disaster and drought management systems and to familiarise them with strategies and tools to develop risk based national drought policies.

The project will be carried out through a series of regional workshops in Eastern Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean starting from 2013, followed by an international wrap-up conference in 2014.

UNW-DPC director Reza Ardakanian said: “This UN-Water initiative is very important in terms of bringing together various partners and expertise within the United Nations system to address the over-arching issue of developing capacities to support national drought management policies.

“We hope to encourage actors to collaborate and make a real difference at the national level, so we can move from merely reacting to drought to managing drought in a proactive manner,” added Ardakanian.

The four institutions are also holding a meeting on national drought policy this week in Geneva, to focus on drought preparedness and management policies. The meeting will bring together world leaders, government decision-makers, development agencies, and leading scientists and researchers.

Conor McGlone

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