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Climate change is increasing the frequency, intensity, extent, and duration of droughts in many parts of the world. The UNCCD supports decision-makers, water, and land managers by advocating for ‘drought smart’, proactive, coordinated and holistic drought risk management. 

Droughts are costly, damaging, and their impacts are pervasive. They affect both developed and developing nations, across all inhabited continents. In the decade to 2017, drought affected at least 1.5 billion people and cost US$125 billion globally. Forecasts estimate that by 2050 droughts may affect over three-quarters of the world’s population. 

UNCCD's goal is to raise awareness on how early action is vital to mitigate and address the impacts of drought. We work with governments and international actors to ensure that communities learn how to minimize the impact of drought on people, livelihoods, ecosystems, and economies.  

Healthy land and ecosystems offer natural long-term storage for freshwater. Yet as water scarcity is exacerbated by climate change-induced droughts, billions of people face recurrent, transient, or permanent water stress.  

Almost three-quarters of the world’s irrigated areas, and half of all major cities, experience at least periodic water shortages. Yet, many countries, especially those severely affected by drought, rely only on crisis risk management to address drought-related problems. 

We are currently helping 70 drought-prone countries to put in place drought smart strategies and drought risk management frameworks, based on:​

  • Early warning and monitoring systems​
  • Vulnerability and impact assessments ​
  • Drought risk mitigation measures​

With partners, UNCCD has developed a Drought Toolbox. We support drought-prone countries by: ​

  • developing national plans that specify when and how countries should respond before a drought turns into a crisis​
  • helping them to access, and effectively use monitoring and risk assessment tools to make drought-prone areas become more resilient​
  • assisting countries to identify, earmark, and restore degrading dryland ecosystems so at-risk communities can adapt to future droughts and reduce their impacts.​

Managing land better and massively scaling up land rehabilitation efforts are essential to widen drought resilience and help ensure communities have access to the water they need. Land restoration techniques can be quickly employed, at relatively low cost, and with modest technology needs, to effectively boost water storage and water use, mitigating impacts of drought and addressing biodiversity loss. ​

The International Drought Resilience Alliance

The IDRA was first announced by Spain at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2022 to be officially launched at the UNFCCC COP27 in November 2022. The alliance is jointly convened by President of Senegal Macky Sall and President of the Government of Spain Pedro Sánchez.  Interested members of the Alliance see the urgent need to pivot from emergency response to increasing drought resilience through a more coordinated and effective response.

Intergovernmental Working Group on Drought

An Intergovernmental Working Group on Drought (IWG) was first established in September 2019 during UNCCD COP14. It presented its findings and recommendations for consideration by the Parties at the fifteenth session of UNCCD COP, followed by the establishment of a new IWG on Drought for the triennium 2022–2024, with the purpose of identifying and evaluating global policy instruments and regional policy frameworks and linking them to national plans to effectively manage drought under the Convention and supporting a shift from reactive to proactive drought management.

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of the global population is projected to be affected by drought by 2050


billion US dollars were spent globally in the decade to 2017 to address drought related events

Drought Fact Image

Drought Toolbox

Providing drought stakeholders with easy access to resources to support action on drought preparedness to boost the resilience of people and ecosystems.

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