UNCCD, WMO Launch Global Campaign for Drought Mitigation

13 March 2013:  The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) have launched a global campaign on drought preparedness and risk management. The Campaign was inaugurated on 13 March, during the High-Level Meeting on National Drought Policy (HMNDP) in Geneva, Switzerland.

The global campaign aims to raise awareness among stakeholders and communities on actions they can take to increase resilience and avoid drought-related disasters. The launch event, titled “Practical Steps to Drought Preparedness and Risk Management,” kicked-off the UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification 2010-2020 (UNDDD), the UN Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the 2013 World Day to Combat Desertification. The latter takes place annually on 17 June, with the theme for the 2013 celebration to be “Don't let our future dry up.”

The event was moderated by Mohammed Bazza of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), and included addresses by UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja and WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, along with presentations on best practices from, among others, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Drylands Development Center and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Among the initiatives highlighted at the event, IUCN presented its “Plant a Pledge” initiative, which supports an international commitment by high-level representatives from governments, international organizations, businesses and conservation groups, known as the Bonn Challenge, to restore 150 million hectares of degraded lands by 2020.

The campaign addresses the challenges facing countries affected by desertification, which the UNCCD and WMO explain is a process of land degradation in drylands that affects food production and is exacerbated by drought. [UNCCD Press Release] [UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification Website]