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Proactive approaches to drought preparedness

Where are we now and where do we go from here?

Climate variability and droughts affect all regions of the world. Drought can occur in virtually any climatic regime, in both high and low rainfall areas. In contrast to aridity, which is a permanent feature of the climate and is restricted to low rainfall areas, drought is a temporary condition brought on by water shortage. There are several definitions of drought, however all of them include a climate variability component. A drought occurs when rains fall below a long-term precipitation average in a given place.

This paper presents current approaches to building proactive policies that support drought-stricken populations and activities, reduce vulnerability, and strengthen resilience to droughts. The paper analyses challenges and options for countries to adopt proactive drought preparedness policies, and addresses opportunities for enhancing the role of international organizations. The first section presents an overview of the regions and countries that are most affected by drought. The following sections present the context for drought, the main approaches to drought management, and the process to build a proactive drought policy that was started by the High-Level Meeting on National Drought Policies (HMNDP), including some country experiences. The paper also discusses challenges and opportunities for adopting national drought policies in developing countries and offer some suggestions of support for current and future policies, including the role of international organizations. 

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