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Droughts Four Times Costly than Floods: Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw Executive Secretary, UNCCD

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

Severe Droughts and Severe Climate Change: Warns Experts on the parallel session on Drought   at the UNCCD COP14. At the Drought Preparedness Day that happened parallel to the UN desertification Conference, countries and agencies discussed the ongoing efforts by UNCCD, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). 

The Session opened with a video on the” End of Famine”. 

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 in the ongoing 14th session of Conference of Parties (COP14), at the Rio Pavilion Centre. Droughts are 4 times costly than floods, said Thiaw. He also remarked on his excitement seeing the all women panel here at the COP14. Gender mainstreaming into all activities and policies on drought preparedness increases our effectiveness”, said Mr. Thiaw. Drawing on the extent of drought, Thiaw remarked on the destocking animals in Zambia, Australia planning to import wheat, New Delhi experiencing 48 degree Celsius in summer. He emphasized on the plan of our honourable PM, Narendra Modi in encouraging rain water Harvesting. Due to drought, over 81 million people who go without food for a day. 21 billion dollars have been spend globally from 2005-2015 and it is on the increase to 81 billion per year. He also emphasized on the hard ships women face during droughts. 

Mr. Thiaw emphasized the need for going together, working together across countries and continents. He said, if we want to go first go alone, if we want to go further, go together and that’s the key aim. 

Rene Castro, Assistant Director- General, Climate, Biodiversity, Land and Water Department, at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations emphasised on the need to shift from a reactive mind-set to a proactive one. He said, “We need to prepare, predict, plan together to stop drought becoming famine. He reiterated the need to work together across countries, UN-agencies, NGOs, academia, indigenous and local communities, private sector, including family farmers and more. 

Here are 22 countries in the world that faces above 70 percent of drought and 11 countries that have more than 100 percent of drought. There is an urgent need to speed up the progress, shift perspectives in water management. “What are we if we see agriculture production decreasing and we cannot feed our children? We have no dignity if we have no land to feed us”, said Ms. Samia Mkrumah President of Kwame Nkrumah Pan African Centre, Ghana.           

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