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Thinking ahead: Drought resilience and COVID-19


COVID-19 is 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.