The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), in collaboration with the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, co-organized a Regional Workshop ‘Capacity Development to Support National Drought Management Policies in Central Asia’ from 04 to 07 November 2013, at the International Agricultural Research and Training Centre in Izmir, Turkey.
The regional workshop was opened by Ms G. Caglar, Representative of the General Directorate of Water Management of the Turkish Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs. In Turkey, significant advances are currently being made in terms of drought management planning, with the recent establishment of the “Flood and Drought Management Planning Department” for the coordination of drought preparedness and response operations by relevant institutions.
The objective of the regional workshop was to enhance the capacities of Member Countries for the development of risk based national drought management policies. Drought has over the past forty years affected more people in the world than any other natural disaster and caused significant economic and ecological damages. To reduce societal vulnerability to droughts, a paradigm shift is needed from the currently predominant reactive crisis management approach to a more proactive risk-based management approach. Drought risk management seeks to increase capacities of individuals, organizations and society as a whole to better cope with the impacts of drought, by focusing on drought preparedness plans and related measures that should be planned proactively and implemented before, during and after drought.
Some 30 delegates from the five Central Asian states and Turkey participated in the event. Since collaboration between sectors is a pre-requisite for the successful development of risk based drought management policies, countries were represented by delegates from among the main sectors concerned, notably Meteorology, Agriculture, Water and Environment.
The workshop provided an opportunity for participating countries to assess the regional and national status of drought management in Central Asia, familiarize themselves with a set of guiding elements for the development of risk based national drought management policies and, work towards an action plan. As mentioned by Mr Bazza, Senior Officer, FAO Headquarters, ‘It is hoped that the process started during the regional workshop will constitute the nucleus for full-fledged national drought management strategies and action plans’ that will benefit each country and the region of Central Asia as a whole.
The regional workshop is a concrete follow-up of the High level Meeting on National Drought Policy (Geneva, March 2013) which urged all Governments around the world to develop and implement National Drought Management Policies and requested the three UN agencies to assist Member Countries in achieving this goal by 2020.
For more information on the project, please contact Ms. Ines Beernaerts (Ines.Beernaerts@fao.org), Land and Water Resources officer, FAO Subregional for Central Asia.