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Drought Forecasting Tool Box Officially Launched at the UNCCS COP14

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

Drought is in focus at the UNCCD COP14, the world’s largest intergovernmental forum where decisions on land use and management are made. In collaboration with the UNCCD, FAO, and the WMO, GWP co-organised the Drought Preparedness Day as part of the UNCCD Drought Initiative. “Drought is a major obstacle to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 15. We need to move faster in our fight against drought. Let us dust this villain, and mitigate climate change,” said Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD, Executive Secretary in his opening remarks at the Drought Preparedness Day that took place on 11 September at the Rio Conventions Pavilion. 

Over 70 countries have started to develop drought plans and have supported the development of the Drought Tool Box. The Drought Tool Box was officially launched at the UNCCDCOP14 which used 30 parameters, including soil moisture, rainfall data, temperature data to the past and present and could efficiently evaluate the vulnerability of the region to drought.

UNCCD Knowledge Management Officer Mr. Jeroen van Dalen presented The Drought Toolbox delivered by UNCCD at the request of country parties. The drought toolbox collates a large number of tools organized in 3 modules.

Drought Monitoring and Early Warning, Drought Vulnerability and Risk Assessment and Drought Mitigation Measures. In order to calculate the drought risk accurately, you need to take into account various geographic, climatic, social and economic factors. The Drought Resilience, Adaptation and Management Policy (DRAMP) Frame work and its guidelines and background documents provide an overview of possible approaches to assess risk and vulnerability.

Drought risk = Vulnerability x Hazard x Exposure  

To manage drought risks effectively, it is mandatory to understand the likely impacts, who will be at risk and why. Assessing risks and vulnerability before droughts occur allows decision makers and communities to devise measures that reduce or prevent the worst impacts. In many drought affected regions, when the impacts are too familiar, vulnerability assessment is an ongoing informal process that is part of decision making for many households. Vulnerability and Exposure are two factors that can mediate the impacts that droughts will have on society at different levels of severity.

The UNCCD Drought Toolbox provides tools and methods to reduce drought risk, be better prepared and effectively respond to drought. An extensive database of solutions will be available for Drought Risk mitigation options, the Solutions are searchable through an interactive guidance and Solutions will be offered by partners, as well as from external sources.

At the UNCCD Drought Preparedness day, there were 2 publications and a white paper report Released. “Proactive approaches to drought preparedness – Where are we now and where do we go from here?” was launched together with FAO and partners and a publication on “Drought Impact and Vulnerability Assessment: A Rapid Review of Practices and Policy Recommendations” with UNCCD and partners.

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