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Global efforts to address droughts and the role of Early Warning Systems (EWS)

About the global approach to dealing with droughts and UNCCD’s efforts in supporting countries in combating them. Early Warning Systems part of national drought policies suggested by UNCCD.

Drought is increasing in frequency, severity, duration and spatial extent. So, the way drought is perceived and managed also has to change. In the past, drought was viewed as a one off event to which society reacted. For far too often, this approach has proven to be costly, ineffective and disastrous, and is creating a culture of dependency.

UNCCD is promoting a paradigm shift from “reactive“ to “proactive“ approaches that increase drought resilience.

UNCCD‘s mandate is to strengthen the development and implementation of national drought policies for disaster prevention and response. We are focusing on a management approach that prioritizes “prevention” over “recovery”.

The last two Conferences of the Parties (COP 11 and COP 12) called for increased emphasis on mitigating drought impacts for long term drought resilience at all levels. Parties also want to improve partnerships to promote capacity development at the national level.

At the next Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to be held in Ordos, China, from 6 to 15 September 2017, ministers will focus on the importance of a comprehensive Drought Early Warning System that includes vulnerability assessments and measures to mitigate risk. We are expecting that governments will agree on a policy framework on drought preparedness. Pilot projects on drought early warning systems are underway in Namibia, Nigeria and Colombia that will showcase these new approaches to drought resilience.

Excerpt from the interview with Daniel Tsegai, Programme Officer at the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD),

Read the whole interview  from page 5 here.

Science and technology, including Earth observation, provide critical inputs for disaster risk reduction - not only at international, national and regional levels, but also at the local level. The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), through its Platform on for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), is committed to promoting integrated applications of space technologies for the implementation of the Sendai Framework.

In this issue of the newsletter, three projects that contribute to this objective:

  • Strengthening Early Warning Systems for Drought (SEWS-D),
  • the International Network on Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (IN-MHEWS) and the
  • Global Partnership Using Space-based Technology Applications for Disaster Risk Reduction (GP-STAR).

In the interview  above with Daniel Tsegai, Programme Officer at the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), he discussed  the global efforts to address droughts and the role of Early Warning Systems in this context.

Finally, UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo writes about the UNISPACE+50 process launched by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and supported by UNOOSA with the objective of formulating a long-term vision for space - Space 2030. Through this process, COPUOS and UNOOSA aim to build synergies with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework and the Paris Agreement.

From the newsletter: Strengthening Early Warning Systems for Drought (SEWS-D)

More frequent and intense droughts are taking place in the so-called “Dry Corridor” of Central America, in the Dominican Republic and in other developing countries in South America, Africa and Asia. Rural communities in these countries are highly vulnerable and the impact of a drought on these populations can lead to loss of livelihoods and other devastating effects.

As a result, national and local governments in countries affected by drought have started to implement a series of measures in order to respond to the consequences of droughts.

As a way to contribute to the efforts conducted by government agencies in Central America and the Dominican Republic, UN-SPIDER and nine other partners, including two Regional Support Offices, launched the project entitled Strengthening Early Warning
Systems for Drought (SEWS-D) in the spring of 2015. The project, currently conducted in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, has three objectives. ( read more from the newsletter page 4 here.)

*This article was originally posted on United Nations, Convention to Combat Desertification. See the original story here.