Drought Impact and Vulnerability Assessment: Available Approaches and Policy Recommendations

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UNCCD Publications

This policy brief summarizes findings from a rapid preliminary review of available approaches to drought impact and vulnerability assessment. The review draws on experiences from different parts of the world. Recommendations focus on the policy needs to enable proactive assessment approaches that can include vulnerable people and work across sectors, scales and timeframes.

Why assess vulnerability to droughts before they happen?To manage drought risks effectively, it is important to understand the likely impacts, who will be at risk, and why. Assessing risks and vulnerability before droughts occur allows decision-makers and communities to devise measures that reduce and prevent the worst impacts. Anticipating the outcomes of an event that is yet to happen can be a challenge, but in many drought-affected regions the impacts of drought are already all too familiar. In these areas, vulnerability assessment is an on-going informal process that is part of decision-making for many households. Integrating and coordinating these informal private assessments with formal, well-documented collective processes that involve civil society organizations, local and national governments and other institutions can create a more comprehensive shared understanding. It also offers a more promising basis for sharing and managing risk at all levels.