Policy-makers alarmed by threat of future droughts discuss the issue

tree at the edge of field

New York, United States – During the most recent drought in East and Southern Africa in 2016, an estimated 17.6 million and 41 million people in these regions respectively, needed assistance. It was the worst drought in Southern Africa in 35 years. 

Projections that future droughts will increase in frequency, intensity, duration and spread have alarmed policymakers concerned by the impact this could have on reaching the 2030 target of achieving land degradation neutrality. This target is recognized by as critical in accelerating achievement of many of the other Sustainable Development Goals.

In light of this, the Permanent Representatives of the member countries of the Group of Friends of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (GOF/DLDD) are organizing a high-level event today on this issue in the sidelines of the Ministerial High-Level Political Forum underway at the UN Headquarters in New York, United States. 

Drought preparedness, regional efforts to reduce drought vulnerability and risk, and tools to boost the resilience of people and ecosystems to drought are particularly high on the agenda of the event titled, Addressing the challenges of drought in the context of achieving land degradation neutrality, which will take place from 13:15-14:45hrs on Monday, 16 July 2018, at the Permanent Mission of Canada. 

The event is organized in collaboration with the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and co-hosted by Iceland, Namibia, Canada and Germany.

The objective is "to take stock of progress made in addressing the challenges of drought and to provide guidance on drought preparedness, reducing vulnerability and risks, as well as resilience, as building blocks for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular achievement of the SDG target on land degradation neutrality."

An estimated 296 large-scale drought events those greater than 500,000 km2 and longer than 3 months were reported across the world between 1950 and 2000. The global economic losses recorded from drought disasters recorded between 1900 and 2013 totaled USD 135 billion, according to the Global Land Outlook. A recent World Bank report estimates that if no action is taken, more than 143 million people could be displaced by 2050.

Drought is viewed as one of a few risks that could lead to high loss and damage in light of the growing number of poor people getting exposed to extreme droughts linked to climate change. 

For more information, read the Concept Note. Further information about the event contact: Melchiade Bukuru, bukuru@un.org
For media interviews, contact: Wagaki Wischnewski, wwischnewski@unccd.int. For journalists in New York, contact, lbaker@unccd.int.