UN Agencies, World Bank Urge Preparation for Drought, Climate Change
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FAO warned of the serious impacts of drought on food security and poverty, which will hamper achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

FAO and the WMO signed an agreement to cooperate on improving the provision of weather-related information to farmers to enable better planning and preparation for droughts.

FAO research has proposed a technique for collecting water in degraded drylands, and has considered how the use of "unconventional water resources," such as recycled wastewater, can return water to the landscape.

19 June 2017: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) are urging countries to take proactive approaches to drought management and mitigation, while the World Bank is encouraging regional development plans to include climate change resilience. The calls came as countries and international organizations marked the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, which examined the link between land degradation and migration.

At the international seminar titled, ‘Predict, Plan, Prepare: Stop Drought Becoming Famine,’ held on 19 June in Rome, Italy, FAO warned of the serious impacts of drought on food security and poverty. It underscored how drought hampers achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goals on poverty and hunger, and leads to civil strife and conflict. In concert with the seminar, FAO noted that since the 1970s, land area affected by drought has doubled; and between 2005 and 2016, 34 African countries have experienced 84 droughts. FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva reminded participants that more than a quarter of a million people starved to death during the 2011 drought in Somalia, and stressed that building resilience will save lives.

IFAD President Gilbert Houngbo called for breaking the cycle of crisis, disaster and relief, by focusing on prevention, and encouraging climate-smart agriculture.

At the seminar, FAO and the WMO signed an agreement to cooperate on improving the provision of weather-related information to farmers to enable better planning and preparation for droughts. President of the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) Gilbert Houngbo called for breaking the cycle of crisis, disaster and relief, by focusing on prevention, and encouraging climate-smart agriculture.

In the run-up to the World Day, the World Bank noted that 20 million people in Africa and the Middle East are experiencing a prolonged drought, while Viet Nam has been struck by its most severe drought in 90 years, affecting more than two million people. The World Bank highlighted its programmes for building resilience to the impacts of climate change, including: irrigation and land restoration in Afghanistan; sand dune protection and vegetation restoration in Ningxia, China; support for the African Union’s ‘Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative’; and a cash-for-work scheme together with emergency aid and agricultural support in response to the drought in Somalia.

On 13 June, the FAO took part in a Bonn Challenge conference in Honduras, where it presented on how to make the best use of water in degraded drylands. FAO research has proposed a technique for collecting water in degraded drylands, and has considered how the use of “unconventional water resources,” such as recycled wastewater, can return water to the landscape and reduce the release of untreated wastewater.

The Bonn Challenge is a global partnership hosted at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It seeks to restore 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded lands by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. Its work contributes to the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration. [International Seminar on Drought and Agriculture] [World Bank Press Release on World Desertification Day] [UN Press Release on International Seminar] [FAO Press Release on International Seminar] [FAO Press Release on Bonn Challenge] [Bonn Challenge Website] [World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought Website]


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