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UNESCAP Announces New Regional Mechanism on Drought

UNESCAP29 November 2013: The Third Session of the Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) has concluded with a call on the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) to facilitate regional cooperation to harness technological advances for resilient, inclusive and sustainable development. In response, ESCAP's Regional Space Applications Programme for Sustainable Development (RESAP) announced the development and operationalization of a new regional mechanism on drought.

According to ESCAP, the mechanism will significantly strengthen the monitoring and early warning capabilities of drought-prone countries through the effective use of space-based information provided by service nodes in the region. The regional mechanism will initially be supported by Chinese and Indian space agencies, and provide monitoring and early warning services and capacity building for drought-prone Asian countries. Mongolia is currently piloting the mechanism, while Cambodia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka are also expected to pilot it soon.

Other key outcomes from the meeting include requests for ESCAP to: develop a set of measurable ‘resilience indicators' to inform policymakers of their country's preparedness level; and support the strengthening of disaster-related statistics, and improve loss and damage assessments and datasets.

The Third Session of the Committee on DRR convened from 27-29 November 2013, in Bangkok, Thailand. [UNESCAP Press Release]