UNDRR 2021 Special Report on Drought


New York, 3 January 2022 (TDI): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) issued a Special Report on Drought in 2021. The main concern is the drought. 129 countries are expected to experience droughts due to climate change alone within the next 80 years, while 38 countries are expected to experience droughts due to climate change and population growth (Smirnov et al., 2016).

It is related to the achievement of the targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Therefore the ability to understand and manage drought risk is related.

In addition, communities, ecosystems, and economies are at risk due to severe drought, and this risk can be quantified with multiple measures and systems. The most vulnerable people endure most of the effects.

Societies are badly affected by drought. It cascades across massive areas, affects socioeconomic and technical systems on a variety of scales, and lasts a long time.

It is critical to recognize, however, that a lack of awareness of such characteristics, including an underestimation of the cost of drought impacts, can lead to inefficient responses and systemic failures.

By gaining a better understanding of the global networked aspects of drought and other complex risks, it becomes possible to make the necessary changes to reduce the risk and improve the experience of drought as well.

The Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) Special Report on Drought 2021 aims to achieve a significant step forward in increasing public awareness of the effects of drought.

Climate change projections suggest many areas will experience droughts that are more frequent and that are more severe than they are now. This is even though the drought has always been a threat.

The challenge becomes even more pressing as questions such as how well society is dealing with droughts and whether there are governance, tools, and approaches that can reduce the cost of droughts become even more urgent.

The purpose of this report is to provide insight into effective approaches to reduce and manage drought risks. This is done by carefully examining the nature of drought risk, gathering experience from responses, and examining effective approaches to mitigate and manage risk.

In the GAR Special Report on Drought 2021, it is recommended that the government take immediate action to reduce the risk of drought. The costs of reducing the impact of drought in advance compared to reacting and responding to it once it has occurred are far less than those of preparing for it and responding to it after it occurs.

Drought presents more profound and extensive risks than can be measured to communities, ecosystems, and economies.

Those most vulnerable to the effects are disproportionately affected. Drought affects people all over the world, interconnecting across large areas, cascading through socio-ecological and technical systems at various scales, and lingering over time.

A lack of awareness of such characteristics, including a consistent underestimation of the cost of drought impacts, can lead to ineffective responses and failures of systems. As a more thorough understanding of the global networked aspects of drought and other complex risks is gained, the changes necessary to reduce risk and improve the experience of drought will be possible.

The Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) Special Report on Drought 2021 aims to take a significant step forward towards creating that awareness.

According to climate change projections, droughts will become more frequent and severe. It makes key issues, such as society’s ability to cope with drought and ways to reduce drought’s cost, even more urgent. The report explores the nature of drought risk and provides insights into alternative approaches to reduce and manage it.

Complex drought risk has broad systemic impacts on societies, economies, and the environment, all of which affect sustainable development. Traditional and existing drought risk management approaches are consistently overwhelmed by the systemic nature of drought risk, and alternative approaches are needed.

A Systems-based Approach to Drought

Partnerships, general awareness, and participation at all levels will be necessary to address the full complexity of drought and reduce risk. Drought constitutes an existential threat to many parts of the world, and the way this risk is managed must change.

It is intended to raise awareness of the nature of drought and the experience of drought around the world. It also presents the case for more innovative approaches to managing drought risk. Community learning and adaptation while preventing and mitigating drought risk and adapting to drought remain key components of the proposed approach.

In these processes, social, financial, institutional, and scientific communities develop the capacity to recognize the complexity of drought risk, devise risk reduction strategies, and engage in risk reduction activities.

Call to Action

Preventative measures have lower human, environmental, and financial costs than waiting until a risk manifests and then reacting and responding to it. In light of the threat drought poses to sustainable development, peace, and security, the effects of climate change should not overwhelm the global community.

As droughts are so prevalent and have such significant effects, a failure to implement systemic drought management and adaptive governance may result in even more devastating social, economic, and environmental effects.

A long-term climate change impact should not discourage actions being undertaken today to better understand the causes of vulnerability, which reveals how human actions are responsible for disasters. There is a rich history of research and practices, as well as traditional knowledge, within the DRR community.

When it comes to addressing the root causes of vulnerability and exposure, indigenous wisdom offers important insights that should not be ignored. These lessons are being actively used to further develop the world as it adapts to the impacts of climate change. We must improve based on what we know, and we must improve based on what we learn.

As a first step, it is necessary to create the conditions for a transition to drought-related, systemic risk governance. To build drought resilience at the national and local levels, such as through the 10-step drought planning approach or the three-pillar approach developed through IDMP, partnerships are needed.

When using these frameworks, it is important to avoid overly prescriptive planning that fails to prioritize iterative learning and innovation. To manage drought risk, plans must be flexible and able to adapt as conditions change.

The challenge lies in developing pathways to mitigate drought-related risks that are derived from a global economic model that places emphasis on optimization. In order to achieve sustainable economic growth, we must use efficiency for the health and well-being of people and ecosystems.

Local and indigenous knowledge must be incorporated into these pathways. These narratives would demonstrate the limits of business as usual in reducing risks. An inclusive global, national, and local community that adopts adaptive governance of systemic risks and articulates shared values and opportunities for enhancing global benefits and dividends.

The world is able to reduce and prevent drought risks by reducing a wide range of complex and proliferating risks, including the growing threat of climate change.

It is imperative that action be taken immediately. By understanding the nature of drought and enabling nimble and adaptive governance, we can reduce the risk of drought to zero.