Land & Water

FAO involved in the capacity development to support national drought management policies

After successful completion of the the 1st and 2nd Regional Workshops for Eastern Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean regions respectively, the 3rd Regional Workshop for Asia-Pacific region was held from 6 to 9 May, 2014 in Hanoi, Viet Nam.

Based on the expressed interest and experience in organizing international events, the Viet Nam Academy of Water Resources (VAWR) and FAO Vietnam Office hosted and served as active local partners throughout the event.

The workshop was attended by more than 30 participants from 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region: Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam, in addition to 15 observers from the Viet Nam Academy of Water Resources and the FAO office in Viet Nam.


Drought, widely recognized as a creeping natural hazard, affects all climatic regions. As one of the most pervasive types of natural disasters, drought has huge impacts on food security, social stability, livelihoods, the environment and economies at large. While the impacts of drought can be significantly reduced through risk-based drought management policies and practices, to date most countries continue to pursue emergency and recovery strategies and respond only after droughts have taken their toll. Such reactive and ‘piecemeal’ approaches often prove to be ineffective.

Proactive and risk-based national drought management policies and practices would greatly assist countries to build societal resilience to drought.

With the aim of supporting developing countries and countries in transition towards building their national capacities for developing risk-based drought management policies, some UN-Water Members requested the inter-agency mechanism, through its Programme on Capacity Development (UNW-DPC), to begin a capacity development initiative on supporting the development of drought management policies at the national level. These UN-Water Members are the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Mr Michel Jarraud, UN-Water Chair, launched the initiative at the occasion of the High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy (HMNDP) held in March 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland. So far, three regional workshops have been carried out: for the Eastern European region, from 9-11 July 2013; for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), from 4-6 December 2013; and for the Asia- Pacific region, from 6-9 May 2014. A regional workshop for African countries is set to be conducted in August 2014.