Expert Meeting on the Preparation of a Compendium on National Drought Policy
Fairfax, VA, USA
This workshop is jointly sponsored and organised by WMO, George Mason University (GMU), U.S. National Drought Mitigation Center (NMDC), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Given the current concerns with climate change, projected increases in the frequency, intensity, and duration of droughts and resulting impacts on many sectors, in particular food, water, and energy, there is cause for concern regarding the lack of drought preparedness and appropriate drought management policies for virtually all nations. The time is ripe for nations to move forward with the development of a pro-active, risk-based national drought policy. Without a coordinated, national drought policy that includes effective monitoring and early warning systems to deliver timely information to decision makers, effective impact assessment procedures, pro-active risk management measures, preparedness plans aimed at increasing the coping capacity, and effective emergency response programs directed at reducing the impacts of drought, nations will continue to respond to drought in a reactive, crisis management mode. Lack of a clear national drought policy implies that governments at the national, state, and community levels will continue with the status quo, i.e., reacting to the impacts of drought with little coordination between national, state, and local agencies. National governments must adopt policies that engender cooperation and coordination at all levels of governments in order to increase their capacity to cope with extended periods of water shortages due to drought. The ultimate goal is to create more drought resilient societies.
To succeed in the development of a national drought policy, the guiding principles should include favoring preparedness over insurance, insurance over emergency relief, and local incentives over government regulation. Research priorities should be set based on the potential of the research results to mitigate and overcome drought impacts in the particular region and for the particular sectors of concern. While drought is a universal problem, solutions to the problem are region- and location-specific.
Session 1 - Opening of Workshop
Session 2: National Drought Policy: Overview
Session 3 - Elements of National Drought Policy in Selected Countries
Session 4 - Drought Plans in Selected Countries/Regions
Session 5 - Towards a Compendium on National Drought Policy
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