High-Level Meeting on National Drought Policy Convenes

12 March 2013: The High-Level Meeting on National Drought Policy (HMNDP), organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), among other partners, is taking place from 11-15 March 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland. The HMNDP brings together world leaders, government decision makers, development agencies, and leading scientists and researchers to discuss drought preparedness and management policies.

The HMNDP, which opened Monday 11 March, is meant to encourage and help countries move from crisis management to disaster risk reduction. The opening session of the event was chaired by Nicholas Goche, Minister of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development, Zimbabwe and Chair of the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET), with remarks from high-level officials including: Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General, WMO; Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary, UNCCD; and José Graziano da Silva, Director-General, FAO.

The opening plenary featured a video message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in which he urged nations to cooperate and develop strategies for drought resilience, "especially for the poor, who are always hit first and worst." Following plenary, the scientific segment began and will continue until the high-level segment commences on Thursday, 14 March. The meeting is scheduled to conclude on Friday, 15 March, with the adoption of the HMNDP Declaration. The entire conference will be webcasted on the WMO website.

The HMNDP also features two guiding documents: a policy document addressing goals and essential elements of a National Drought Management Policy (NDMP), focused on the theme of promoting national drought policies to reduce societal vulnerability to droughts; and a scientific document, focused on best practices on NDMP including, among others, promoting standard approaches to vulnerability and impact assessments. [FAO Press Release] [UNCCD Press Release] [UN Press Release] [UN Secretary-General Video Message Statement] [WMO Webcast of HMNDP] [Publication: HMNDP Policy Document: National Drought Management Policy] [Publication: HMNDP Science Document: Best Practices on National Drought Management Policy] [HMNDP Website]