How to pre-empt devastating drought impacts

 

Photo credit: FAO

Parched earth in Kenya, one of the East African countries currently feeling the impacts of drought.

World needs to pre-empt devastating drought impacts through better preparedness

Seminar at FAO seeks to rekindle international cooperation, wider use of existing tools and approaches

Investing in preparedness and building the resilience of farmers is fundamental to facing situations of extreme drought, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said today.

“Saving livelihoods means saving lives – this is what building resilience is all about,” he said in a speech at the start of an international seminar on drought organized by Iran, the Netherlands, and FAO and held at the UN agency’s Rome headquarters.

Recalling the 2011 drought in Somalia that saw over 250,000 people perish from hunger, Graziano da Silva said: “People die because they are not prepared to face the impacts of the drought – because their livelihoods are not resilient enough.”

“For years, the focus has been responding to droughts when they happen, rushing to provide emergency assistance and to keep people alive,” Graziano da Silva said, noting that while “of course, that is important,” investing in preparedness and resilience is essential. Doing so puts countries on a footing to act quickly before it is too late, means that farmers and rural communities are better positioned to cope with extreme weather when it does hit.

John Mutorwa, Minister for Agriculture, Water and Forestry of Namibia, said that in these times of climate change, drought has emerged as a challenge that all countries will be forced to face, again and again.

Read the full article: FAO

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.