07 August 2020, Bonn – UNCCD and its partners from IUCN, FAO, SADC Secretariat and IWMI gathered today for a virtual launch of the regional project on drought risk management for Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries. The project, funded by the Korea Forest Service (KFS), is aimed at stepping up the efforts to confront drought in the region more effectively.
Speaking on behalf of KFS, Mr. Taesik Ham noted the successful collaboration between the agency and African countries and confirmed Korea’s continued support for land degradation-related activities in Africa.
UNCCD Drought Officer Mr. Daniel Tsegai described the main focus of the new project as developing regional capacity for drought monitoring and early warning. The project that will run through the end of 2021 will establish a groundwork for a regional drought monitor as well as develop a drought risk management and mitigation strategy supported by a network of experts.
As noted by Mr. Bongani Simon Masuku, the UNCCD National Focal Point (eSwatini) and Head of Community of Science and Technology, most counties in the region have already adopted or are in the process of developing national drought plans that would greatly benefit from outcomes of the new project.
Addressing the main issues of improving the drought resilience in the region, the meeting participants noted the need to prioritize preparedness over the reactive approach. The lack of intersectoral coordination mechanism in drought management, insufficient data and ineffective communication on early warning systems are also among the obstacles to improving drought preparedness. To make the new initiative successful and sustainable, the partners also recognized the need to find creative ways of generating new investments in the program.
Analyzing drought monitoring and early warning to enable effective early action, assessing vulnerability to define key action areas and designing well-targeted mitigation measures are the three pillars of the drought preparedness approach that supports the UNCCD Drought Initiative and its knowledge products, including the Drought Toolbox. As of today, 73 countries of which 35 are from Africa, already joined the Initiative to develop their national drought plans.