Update on the regional initiative to combat drought and SDS in Central Asia


UNCCD and CAREC organized an online stakeholder consultation to exchange recommendations on the project “Regional approaches for combating sand and dust storms (SDS) and drought in Central Asia” and discuss expected regional strategic documents with the representatives of UNEP, UNDP, UNDRR, FAO, GIZ, EU, ICBA and Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management (CACILM).

Drought and SDS are a common and accelerating phenomenon in the semi-arid and arid region of Central Asia, causing severe and large-scale agricultural damage, threatening human health and increasing social insecurity. Both phenomena – drought and SDS – are closely associated with climate change. However, the history of unsustainable practices in land and water management have also caused chronic SDS events that contribute to water and food security in the region.

The new project will help Central Asian governments to better assess the risks of drought and SDS by using vulnerability assessments that will include household surveys and mapping. The proposed approaches and measures will take into account regional specifics to help coordinate and manage natural hazards proactively. Additionally, the development of convincing project proposals for better resource mobilization will be integrated into an ongoing regional initiative. 

The main recommendations of the meeting include:

  • Aligning project work with ongoing programs to make the best use of existing knowledge platforms
  • Supporting effective outreach to decision-makers by using people-centric approach in strategic papers, providing convincing statistics on losses and producing vulnerability assessments
  • Strengthening national knowledge base and capacity building for monitoring, forecasting and reporting on drought vulnerability as one of the key pillars of proactive drought risk management
  • Building partnerships with technical agencies and programs that work on early warning systems 

The initiative became fully operational in the early spring of 2020, with national and regional expert teams set up and the stock-taking activities already underway. While the COVID19 pandemic prevents in-person national and regional consultations, as well as field activities in some countries, the project team continues its collaborate online to deliver the expected results.