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UNCCD News Highlights Importance of Drought Strategies and Resilience

UNCCD logo9 May 2013: The latest issue of 'UNCCD News,' published by the Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), focuses on the issue of drought and, in particular, the outcomes from the High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy (HMNDP).

The issue highlights that an "effective strategy against drought relies on the availability of timely and reliable information as a basis for effective decision-making," and notes that such a strategy will "require policies and institutional arrangements that encourage assessment, communication, and application of the information."

In his column, UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja notes that "Building resilience to drought is not only a mitigation measure, but a smart investment with guaranteed high returns." He notes that the UNCCD, together with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and others, have sought to build a coalition to promote the establishment of national drought policies and organized the HMNDP, which convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 11-15 March 2013. To follow-up on that meeting, Gnacadja notes that the UNCCD will undertake capacity building initiatives to empower countries and communities that are most vulnerable to droughts.

An interview with WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud highlights that national drought management policy should emphasize "the development and implementation of pre-impact government programmes and preparedness plans and policies that are directed towards drought risk reduction, rather than just drought relief." He reports that the WMO is taking the lead to develop the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), which is an international partnership that seeks to improve and expand the provision of climate services, especially to the most vulnerable.

UNCCD News issue 5.1 notes that new, drought-related initiatives by the UNCCD and its partners include the: Capacity Building Project on Drought Preparedness (UNCCD, WMO and FAO in cooperation with the UN-Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development (UNW-DPC)); Global Campaign on Drought Preparedness and Risk Management (UNCCD and WMO); UNCCD's Advocacy Policy Framework; and Integrated Drought Management Programme (Global Water Partnership and WMO). [Publication: UNCCD News issue 5.1] [Land Policy & Practice Posts on the HMNDP]