Drought Risk Management

Drought Risk Management
Photo: UNDP

People who live in dry areas are vulnerable to disasters of various kinds. They are subject to recurrent droughts, and when the rains come, they are often affected by serious floods. In the past, crisis preparedness and management often focused on man-made disasters and acute natural disasters. Recurrent exposure to natural hazards, especially drought, has been largely ignored. This is changing, and UNDP-DDC is helping the change to come about.

Drought risk management (DRM) is the concept and practice to avoid, lessen or transfer the adverse effects of drought hazards and the potential impacts of disaster through activities and measures for prevention, mitigation and preparedness. It is a systematic process of using administrative directives, organizations and operational skills and capacities to implement strategies, policies and improving coping capacities.

In recognition of the multiplicity of drought challenges in the context of uncertainties surrounding climate change, UNDP-DDC is focusing on building long-term resilience to climate shocks and change as well as mitigating immediate disaster risks and impacts . This is being undertaken through mainstreaming DRM into development planning and practices with the financial support from the European Union, the Government of Finland and the Government of Japan. The country projects assist national as well as local counterparts to shift from reactive to proactive drought management approaches by identifying and implementing options for reducing drought vulnerability in an integrated manner.

Drought Risk Management Projects at a Glance

In Mozambique, the project supported the organization of exchange visits/study tours and training workshop, where the national bushfire prevention plan was presented by local authorities and its implementation discussed with community leaders. Experiences and lesson learnt on bush fire prevention and control from Nampula Province, which is considered as the best practice in Mozambique, was also shared.

Furthermore a Training of Trainers was carried out, where personnel from the various District Administrations responsible for building capacity of communities in arid and semi-arid areas have been trained in promotion of efficient use of natural resources. Through this process communities have now been empowered to improve productivity of drought resistant products/goods. Farmers have also been trained in sustainable apiculture practices and provided needed equipment (modern beehives) to continue developing this alternative livelihoods option.

The project in Namibia, which is still in its preparatory phase, intends to develop materials and tools to be used for building capacity of communities to prevent and mitigate drought risk in the drylands. The initiative will collaborate with the other ongoing programmes and initiatives operating in the fields of climate change adaptation and disaster risk management. Tools and materials developed will be applied in two communities to fill in DRM capacity gaps identified in the baseline assessments. The objective is to raise awareness on disaster risk management as well as to enhance the resilience of the target communities to address future drought and other climate risks. Lesson learnt and success stories from this process will be identified, documented and shared.

In Syria, the project seeks to enhance community adaptation to drought within the framework of the project "Integrated Community Development for Scaling-up the MDGs". This project aims at improving MDG related service delivery through an integrated community development approach; it targets 6 villages in the North-Eastern Region which was hit by severe drought. Programme support is used to build community resilience to drought through action at two levels: 1) the promotion of appropriate technologies/practices in land and water management; and 2) the development of vocational and business skills and the establishment of small and medium enterprises.

Sharing and Up-Scaling of DRM Good Practices

Compilation and sharing of knowledge, experiences and lessons learned is an important pathway for up-scaling the innovative and proven DRM tools in policy-setting, programme planning and actual project implementation. The need for knowledge sharing and peer-learning opportunities in the field of DRM was highlighted at the Forum on Drought Risk & Development Policy held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2002. In response to the ever increasing demand from DRM practitioners (NGOs, international agencies, government representatives, practitioners, etc.), UNDP-DDC has been coordinating the African Drought Risk and Development Network (ADDN) since 2005 with UNDP Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

Building on the successful experience of ADDN, Africa-Asia Drought Risk Management Peer Assistance Network (AADP) was established in late 2010, with financial support from the Government of Japan.