THE World Meteorological Organization (WMO), U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization, U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification and other partners held a High-Level Meeting on National Drought Policy March 11-15 in Geneva, Switzerland, to focus on drought preparedness and management policies.
"The frequency, intensity and duration of droughts are expected to rise in several parts of the world as a result of climate change, with an increasing human and economic toll," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said. "We simply cannot afford to continue in a piecemeal, crisis-driven mode. We have the knowledge and experience to reduce the impact of drought. What we need now is the policy framework and action on the ground."
The meeting was held to encourage countries to move from crisis management to disaster risk reduction -- an approach used for hazards such as tropical cyclones and floods.
Specific targets include: proactive mitigation and planning measures, risk management, public outreach and resource stewardship as key elements of effective national drought policy; greater collaboration to enhance national, regional and global observation networks and information delivery systems to improve public understanding of and preparedness for drought; incorporating comprehensive government and private insurance and financial strategies into drought preparedness plans; recognizing a safety net of emergency relief based on sound stewardship of natural resources and self-help at diverse governance levels, and coordinating drought programs and response in an effective, efficient and customer-oriented manner.