Unveiling Regional Initiatives: South Asia Gears Up for Drought Management in 2024

Unveiling Regional Initiatives: South Asia Gears Up for Drought Management in 2024

22 - 24 Jan 2024

Bamgkok, Thailand

Drought conditions in South Asia have emerged as a complex challenge, impacting vital sectors such as agriculture, water resources, livelihoods, and energy generation. The vulnerability of countries in the region, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, to various types of droughts is exacerbated by erratic rainfall patterns and prolonged dry spells. This has led to heightened concerns over food insecurity, water scarcity, and the plight of small-scale farmers grappling with crop failures, ultimately contributing to poverty and rural migration. Addressing the multifaceted impacts of drought in South Asia necessitates collaborative efforts across sectors and regional cooperation.

In a significant stride toward tackling this challenge, the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), in collaboration with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Global Water Partnership (GWP), The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and International Drought Resilience Alliance (IDRA), organized a pivotal Regional Consultation Workshop on Drought Risk Management and Mitigation from January 22-24, 2024, in Bangkok, Thailand.

The primary objective of the workshop was to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive regional framework for drought management across South Asian countries. The initiative aims to enhance resilience to drought events by producing an inventory of national drought management policies and strategies, incorporating impact data from past and present national drought management plans, policies, and practices. Furthermore, lessons learned from drought mitigation planning strategies and management from other regions on drought vulnerability management will be analyzed which are providing valuable insights for the development of a robust regional drought management strategy for South Asia.

This workshop also was part of the UNCCD secretariat’s effort to deliver various COP decisions addressing drought and capacity development, such as Decision 2 and Decision 23 of COP.15. It also targeted National Focal Points (NFPs) and nominated experts/specialists from selected South Asian countries. It focused on building capacities for drought mitigation and resilience, enhancing awareness, and promoting the interactive use of tools supporting drought management, such as the UNCCD Drought Toolbox.

This consultation workshop served as a catalyst for collective action and innovation in drought risk management and mitigation for South Asia. By fostering collaboration, building capacity, and formulating strategic frameworks, the workshop has laid a solid foundation for sustainable development and resilience-building initiatives that will shape the region's response to drought challenges in years to come.