Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Drought Conference

Together against drought –  Juntos contra la sequia
August 14  16, 2017
Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia 

In the recent years, many countries of the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region have been affected by prolonged droughts. Peru, Venezuela, Brazil and the Caribbean nations have experienced severe droughts that led to a declaration of a state of emergency. International attention has been growing around drought and a series of initiatives and regional workshops have been developed to find strategies to cope with the problem.

The first conference on drought in the LAC region was held in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia from August 14 to August 16, 2017. The conference was organized by the Bolivian Ministry of Water and Environment, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The Bolivian Minister of Water and Environment Carlos Ortuño welcomed the participants and opened the conference under the motto “Juntos contra la sequía/Together against drought.” Delegates from sixteen LAC countries, together with drought experts and technical personnel discussed strategies to predict, evaluate and mitigate the effects of drought.

The discussions have revealed that LAC countries are highly vulnerable to drought while lacking preparedness. The Conference stressed the need to develop national drought policy plans that must include drought early warning systems along with vulnerability assessment maps and risk mitigation measures. These key elements are fundamental to enhancing drought preparedness and societal resilience to drought.

The Conference concluded with the adoption of a Declaration calling countries to take action against drought by following a common policy strategy, which has been outlined in a white paper. It has also been presented during a high-level round table discussion by ministers and vice ministers from the LAC sub regions.