WASAG – The Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture

WASAG is proud to present its new working paper from its working group on drought preparedness, titled Thinking ahead: Drought resilience and COVID-19, a co-publication with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

We are in a defining moment for strengthening drought resilience of society and managing ecosystems more sustainably. Both recent and historical experiences indicate that disease outbreaks very often follow extreme weather events. Drought, combined with other ecosystem changes such as habitat degradation, preceded the COVID-19 outbreak and has been associated with many other types of epidemics in the past.

This paper highlights that the interactions between human, ecosystems and ecology often govern drought-linked disease. Factoring these interactions and their impacts on vulnerable communities and their environment is important for drought preparedness, resilience, and recovery. It also calls for increased investments and defines important steps for government and international agencies in responding to post COVID-19 period and in building back better for a more drought-resilient society and ecosystems. These steps require cross-sectoral, inter-disciplinary cooperation that responds to and addresses the underlying causes behind future disease outbreaks for a healthy living.

Following the publication of this working paper, a webinar titled Drought, COVID-19 and multi-risk assessment was held on 2 February 2022.


Introduction by the Moderator: Rachael McDonnell, Deputy Director General, International Water Management Institute (IWMI)

Welcome Address: Anna-Katharina Hornidge, Director, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Opening Remarks: Sasha Koo Oshima, Deputy Director, Land and Water Division, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) 

Drought and COVID – linkages: Saravanan Subramanian, WASAG and DIE

Drought and Riskscape – towards a multi-risk assessment framework: Detlef Müller-Mahn, Institute of Geography, University of Bonn

Practical experiences with urban to rural multi-risk assessments in Kenya and Tanzania: Dennis Ochuodho (Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University, Kenya) and Digna Irafay (Consultant and Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Tanzania)

Panel Discussion and exchange with expert audience:
Chris Magero, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Anna-Katharina Hornidge, DIE
Daniel Tsegai, United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
Maher Salman, FAO
Festus Asaaga, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH)

Moderator: Michael Brüntrup, DIE

Q & A Session to Panelists and Speakers 

Outlook and ways forward: Miriam Medel Garcia, Chief, External Relations, Policy and Advocacy, UNCCD

Watch the recording of the webinar here.

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