FAO Regional Office for Africa

Namibia Conference discusses enhancing resilience to drought in Africa

From crisis response towards strategic and sustainable approach

Food security support to drought affected communities through emergency seed, vaccination and livestock feed in Ethiopia. (Photo:©FAO/Giulio Napolitano)

18 August 2016, Windhoek - A first African Drought Conference was held under the auspices of the African Union in Windhoek, Namibia, this week, as a follow-up to the High-level Meeting on National Drought Policies (HMNDP), organized by FAO, WMO and UNCCD Secretariat, in 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland.

It sheds the spotlight on the necessity for Africa to place a “Strategic Framework for Drought Risk Management and Enhancing Resilience in Africa” high on its development agenda.

The conference was organized by the Government of Namibia and UNCCD Secretariat, with FAO’s support, and attended by over 300 participants, including country delegates, regional economic groups as well as development organizations and financing agencies.

Addressing a High-level Segment of the First African Drought Conference on “Enhancing Resilience to Drought Events on the African Continent”, Namibian President Dr. Hage Geingob called on partners to collaborate in drought management and serve the needs of communities and farmers. He gave the assurance of the Government of Namibia that it will continue to work with FAO in this area.  

In a speech read on behalf of the Director-General of FAO, José Graziano da Silva, FAO Representative in Namibia, Mr Babagana Ahmadu, warned of dire consequences if Africa failed to be proactive in drought management, adding that “failure to adopt proactive drought risk management policies would jeopardize our efforts to meet the challenge of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the Malabo Commitments.”

“We must align national regulatory frameworks and sectoral strategies with risk management and support and empower vulnerable rural communities and practitioners, such as farmers and pastoralists, to increase their coping capacity before drought occurs. They are at the frontline of the fight against drought impacts”, Babagana Ahmadu indicated.

FAO committed to supporting drought prone countries

FAO reiterated its commitment to supporting drought-prone countries in their efforts to build resilience to drought.

Africa is particularly threatened by climate variability and change, with frequent and severe droughts hindering agricultural growth and the efforts to fight against hunger and poverty. The recent drought episode lasting for two consecutive years was the most severe experienced in more 30 years and heavily impacted Southern and Eastern Africa.

African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Ms Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, stressed that “Africa obviously needs to go beyond emergency response to drought in order to make drought disasters in Africa history.”

The impacts of drought are magnified by the chronic food insecurity which prevails in several parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, even under normal climatic conditions, thus affecting one of the very basic needs for the survival of people, food.

The conference participants called for a paradigm shift away from crisis response to drought towards a risk management approach and sustainable strategies, enabling African Governments to move forward in ensuring that the devastation of droughts will be a thing of the past.



[email protected]

[email protected]