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Final Declaration from High-Level Meeting Encourages All Countries to Develop Drought Management Policies

17 March 2013: The Final Declaration from the High-Level Meeting on National Drought Policy (HMNDP) encourages governments to develop and implement national drought management policies with consideration of proactive measures to mitigate the impacts of drought.

Convened by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), among others, in Geneva, Switzerland, from 11-15 March 2013, the HMNDP aimed to encourage science-based drought disaster risk reduction rather than crisis-response approaches. The meeting brought together more than 300 representatives, including government delegates, development agency personnel, scientists and researchers.

The closing session was held as part of the meeting's high-level segment. Participants heard addresses from heads of UN agencies along with international, regional and HMNDP donor organizations. In an earlier message to participants, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underscored that “prevention must be our priority.” This echoed a joint statement by WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva and UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja, stating that, “What we need now is to complete the shift to this new paradigm, from reaction to resilience.”

The meeting's Final Declaration: outlines the urgency of the problem; recognizes scientific progress in drought monitoring and early warning systems; notes the need for vulnerability and impact assessment, along with rapid relief and response; and recalls the need for effective drought policies. The Declaration: encourages all countries to develop and implement National Drought Management Policies, consistent with their national development laws, conditions, capabilities and objectives; urges WMO, UNCCD and FAO to assist governments, especially the developing countries, in the development and implementation of these policies; and encourages North-South and South-South cooperation for the development and implementation of these policies. [WMO Press Release] [FAO Press Release] [HMNDP Final Declaration] [Joint Statement by FAO, WMO and UNCCD] [UN Press Release][IISD RS knowledgebase coverage of HMNDP and its side events][HMNDP website]