In recent yeas, water scarcity and drought have been seriously affecting the Northern Mediterranean and Central and Eastern Europe, with major impacts on the economy and welfare of people. To address the growing concern over the negative impacts of water scarcity, national focal points, country representatives and scientists gathered for an online Drought Dialogue on 13 July 2022. Representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia joined the dialogue to discuss the development of national drought plans and facilitate the exchange of effective approaches to drought preparedness and drought impact monitoring. Following the UNCCD COP mandate, the secretariat of the convention and the Global Mechanism are implementing a Drought Initiative, with the input from the Science-Policy Interface. The initiative aims to support UNCCD country Parties in their efforts to establish effective national drought action plans and improve the resilience of ecosystem and people to drought. To date, more than 70 countries are engaged in the process of designing national plans of action, including five countries from Central and Eastern Europe. Contributing to these efforts, the outcomes of the Drought Dialogue will support the production of a technical brief that will aim to address the gaps and needs of the region to building drought resilience with available knowledge and solutions. It will also include a number of case studies, initiatives and good practices on drought risk mitigation from a broad range of stakeholders: governmental, non-governmental, private sector, civil society and international organizations. The technical brief will follow the path laid out by the recent Global Land Outlook 2 Central and Eastern Europe thematic report “Ecosystem restoration for green recovery and a sustainable future,” which offers a comprehensive analysis of commitments under international and national initiatives promoting land and ecosystem restoration to address the impacts of drought.
The Bureau of the Committee on Science and Technology, the UNCCD subsidiary body established to provide information and advice on scientific and technological matters relating to combating desertification and mitigating the effects of drought, has opened a call for new independent scientist members to its Science-Policy Interface (SPI). The application period runs between 21 July 2022 and 25 August 2022, closing at midnight (CEST). Please find the online application form here. The mandate of the SPI is to facilitate a two-way science-policy dialogue and ensure the delivery of policy-relevant information, knowledge and advice on desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD). The SPI helps ensure the bottlenecks to addressing desertification, land degradation and drought are addressed with the latest science. This is accomplished through the scientific assessment and synthesis of existing science as well as the review and analysis of major assessment reports of other scientific mechanisms. The SPI work programme for the 2022-2024 triennium will address, through scientific assessment and synthesis, two critical issues which require relevant scientific expertise: sustainable land use systems and historical regional and global aridity trends and future projections. In addition to providing quality assurance for the UNCCD’s flagship publication, the Global Land Outlook, the SPI cooperates, through scientific review of new reports and analysis of recently published reports, with six other intergovernmental/international panels and bodies, including IPBES, IPCC, ITPS, UNEP IRP, GLII of UN Habitat, and IDMP. Service on the SPI, which is voluntary, provides scientists the opportunity to help policy makers address critical bottlenecks in achieving the mission of the Convention. And through this service, future global policy development will be grounded upon a solid scientific foundation.