To avoid, lessen or transfer the adverse effects of drought hazards


Photo credit: UNDP

Photo: UNDP Bangladesh

Drought Risk Management


People who live in dry areas are vulnerable to disasters of various kinds. They are subject to recurrent droughts, and when the rains come, they are often affected by serious floods. In the past, crisis preparedness and management often focused on man-made disasters and acute natural disasters. Recurrent exposure to natural hazards, especially drought, has been largely ignored. This is changing, and UNDP is helping the change to come about.

Drought risk management (DRM) is the concept and practice to avoid, lessen or transfer the adverse effects of drought hazards and the potential impacts of disaster through activities and measures for prevention, mitigation and preparedness. It is a systematic process of using administrative directives, organizations and operational skills and capacities to implement strategies, policies and improving coping capacities.

In recognition of the multiplicity of drought challenges in the context of uncertainties surrounding climate change, UNDP is focusing on building long-term resilience to climate shocks and change as well as mitigating immediate disaster risks and impacts. This is being undertaken through mainstreaming DRM into development planning and practices with the financial support from the European Union, the Government of Finland and the Government of Japan. The country projects assist national as well as local counterparts to shift from reactive to proactive drought management approaches by identifying and implementing options for reducing drought vulnerability in an integrated manner.

Drought Risk Management Projects at a Glance

In Mozambique, the project supported the organization of exchange visits/study tours and training workshop, where the national bushfire prevention plan was presented by local authorities and its implementation discussed with community leaders. Experiences and lesson learnt on bush fire prevention and control from Nampula Province, which is considered as the best practice in Mozambique, was also shared.

Read the full article: UNDP

New sustainability goals for UNDP

Photo credit: UN News Centre

A woman at her family’s tomato farm in Tartous, Syria, in 2014. The farm is one of the businesses supported by UNDP Syria, which provide food for conflict-affected Syrians. Photo: UNDP Syria

At 50, UN development programme revamps itself to tackle new sustainability goals

A woman at her family’s tomato farm in Tartous, Syria, in 2014. The farm is one of the businesses supported by UNDP Syria, which provide food for conflict-affected Syrians. Photo: UNDP Syria


24 February 2016 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with its presence in more than 170 poor and vulnerable countries, must rise to the challenge of advancing a “big, new, more complex, and transformational” sustainable development agenda, the head of the agency said today at a ministerial meeting to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its founding.

“For fifty years, UNDP has been working on the frontlines of development, advocating for change and connecting countries to the knowledge, experience, and resources they need to help people build better lives,” UNDP Administrator Helen Clark told the special meeting at UN Headquarters.

“The world has changed immeasurably in that time, and UNDP has changed with it,” she added.

But UNDP’s core mission remains more relevant than ever, she stressed, citing its mandate to support countries to eradicate poverty in a way which simultaneously reduces inequality and exclusion, while protecting the planet.

The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by 193 Member States last September, provide the framework for the next phase of UNDP’s work.

“We have already taken steps to ensure that UNDP is fit for purpose in the SDG era,” she said, noting that a more focused Strategic Plan includes the restructuring of headquarters to eliminate duplication and improve efficiency and effectiveness, as well as a shift of policy, programme, and other support closer to the field. UNDP also implemented measures which led to the agency being ranked among the most transparent development organizations in the world.

World Day to Combat Desertification

Photo credit: Google – Imgres.jpg


United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

World Day to Combat Desertification to be held on 17 June 

Let us find long‐term solutions, not just quick fixes, to disasters that are
destroying communities,” urged Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD.(See PRESS RELEASE below).


Willem Van Cotthem: We keep hoping that success stories and best practices will be applied at the global level. Priority should be given to methods and techniques providing daily fresh food to the hungry and malnourished. It cannot be denied that hunger and malnutrition are constantly undermining the performances of people. Application of existing success stories in local food production (kitchen gardens, school gardens, hospital gardens, …) would positively influence the efforts to combat desertification (limiting erosion, stimulating reforestation, etc.). We keep hoping.

ReplyUnited Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Hi Willem Van Cotthem, would you like to share some success stories you have? We always welcome all to share!”

       ReplyWillem Van Cotthem : Hello Friends at the UNCCD Secretariat: It will be my pleasure to select a series of success stories in the literature. However, I am convinced that the UNCCD secretariat has the necessary documentation to compile even a book on this subject (to the best of my knowledge the documents, e.g. presentations at COPs and meetings of CST and CRIC, have been there during my active period in the CST and in Bonn). Please consider a consultancy to achieve top class work that would serve all member countries, the CST and the CRIC. To be presented at the next World Day June 17th 2016.

UNCCD’s Monique Barbut Calls for Long‐Term Solutions Not Just Quick Fixes To Drought Bonn, Germany, 22/02/2016 –
“Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People. This is the slogan for this year’s World Day to Combat Desertification to be held on 17 June. I am calling for solidarity from the international community with the people who are battling the ravages of drought and flood. Let us find long‐term solutions, not just quick fixes, to disasters that are destroying communities,” urged Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
The droughts and floods beating down on communities in many parts of the world are linked to the current El Niño, which is expected to affect up 60 million people by July. In some areas, including in North Eastern Brazil, Somali, Ethiopia, Kenya and Namibia, the El Niño effects are coming on the back of years of severe and recurrent droughts. It is impossible for households that rely on the land for food and farm labor to recover, especially when the land is degraded.
What’s more, these conditions do not just devastate families and destabilize communities. When they are not attended to urgently, they can become a push factor for migration, and end with gross human rights abuses and long‐term security threats.
“We have seen this before – in Darfur following four decades of droughts and desertification and, more recently, in Syria, following the long drought of 2007‐2010. It is tragic to see a society breaking down when we can reduce the vulnerability of communities through simple and affordable acts such as restoring the degraded lands they live on, and helping countries to set up better systems for drought early warning and to prepare for and manage drought and floods,” Barbut said.
Ms Barbut made the remarks when announcing the plans for this year’s World Day to Combat Desertification, which will take place on 17 June.
“I hope that World Day to Combat Desertification this year marks a turning point for every country. We need to show, through practical action and cooperation, how every country is tacking or supporting these challenges at the front‐end to preempt or minimize the potential impacts of the disasters, not just at the back‐end after the disasters happen,” she stated.
The United Nations General Assembly designated 17 June as the observance Day to raise public awareness about international efforts to combat desertification and the effects of drought.
Ms Barbut thanked the Government and People of China, for offering to host the global observance event, which will take place at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
“China has vast experience in nursing degraded lands and man‐made deserts back to health. This knowledge can and should benefit initiatives such as Africa’s Great Green Wall, the re‐ greening in southern Africa and the 20 X 20 Initiative in Latin America. We can create a better, more equal and climate change‐resilient world,” she noted.
“I also call on countries, the private sector, foundations and people of goodwill to support Africa  when the countries meet later in the year to develop concrete plans and policies to pre‐ empt, monitor and manage droughts,” Ms Barbut stated.
The 2016 World Day campaign is also advancing the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in September last year. The Goals include a target to achieve a land degradation‐neutral world by 2030. That is, a world where the land restored back to health equals to, or is more than, the amount degraded every year.
For more information on the Day and previous events, visit:‐and‐campaigns/WDCD/Pages/default.aspx
For background information and materials for the 2016 Observance, visit: For information about the Global Observance event, visit:‐and‐ campaigns/WDCD/wdcd2016/Pages/default.aspx
Contact for World Day to Combat Desertification:
For Media information:

Grow food on an A-riser or a H-riser to alleviate malnutrition

Photo credit: 

* Wooden Riser A-form – Photo Jojo ROM – 283225_4230820167045_1991451138_n.jpg

One of the best practices: The A-riser or the H-riser

By Willem Van Cotthem (University of Ghent, Belgium)

My good friend Jojo ROM (Davao City, The Philippines) is one of the famous experts on container gardening.  He was one of the first to construct in his own backyard an A-riser on which he grew (and still grows) vegetables and herbs in different types of containers.

It has been clearly shown that this is one of the best practices to grow vegetables and herbs in the smallest space.  As container gardening has many advantages over traditional gardening (mostly in bad soils !), this successful method deserves to be promoted at the global level, in particular in an environment with poor soils, e.g. in the drylands.

One of the applications to be strongly recommend is: construction of risers for the refugee camps, where people never have sufficient space or the necessary means to install a kitchen garden for their family.  Imagine the refugees’ joy being enabled to grow fresh food close to their tents: interesting time spending, being busy for a nice part of the day, and producing their own fresh food, herbs and mint for their tea.

Impossible you say ?  Have a look at the pictures below and convince yourself that minimal investment in risers loaded with containers will automatically yield a maximal food production.

You want to forget about the refugee camps ?  OK !  But please remain convinced that risers can be installed in small backyards and even on a flat roof, all over the world, also in your own neighbourhood.

Now then, enjoy the pictures !

* Wooden Riser - A-form - Photo Jojo ROM - 942231_10200263483608038_661084805_n
* Wooden Riser – A-form with bottles – Photo Jojo ROM – 942231_10200263483608038_661084805_n
* Riser - Bottles, Tetrapots - Photo Jojo ROM - 299197_2027431123696_1181604134_31907234_795222_n
* Riser – with bottles and tetrapots – Photo Jojo ROM – 299197_2027431123696_1181604134_31907234_795222_n
* Bamboo Riser with clay pots - Photo Victor S. Cabag (Philippines)  - 10422170_10201509648703265_4177847876384089747_n
* Bamboo Riser with clay pots – Photo Victor S. Cabag (Philippines) – 10422170_10201509648703265_4177847876384089747_n
* Riser with jugs - Photo Berlin ramos Sadler - 528880_3501510093823_1437046645_n
* Riser with jugs – Photo Berlin Ramos Sadler – 528880_3501510093823_1437046645_n
* Riser -with bottles, canisters and tetrapots - Photo Almar B. Autida430068_2870346474042_1121267916_32155811_1625702319_n
* Riser with bottles, canisters and tetrapots – Photo Almar B. Autida – 430068_2870346474042_1121267916_32155811_1625702319_n
* Riser - bottles and jugs - Photo Berlin Ramos Sadler - 549094_3575738549488_607260712_n
* Riser with bottles and jugs – Photo Berlin Ramos Sadler – 549094_3575738549488_607260712_n
* Riser with different containers - Photo Fe Mondejar - 66729_373215606134201_1286771557_n
* A simple riser with different containers – Photo Fe Mondejar – 66729_373215606134201_1286771557_n
*  An impressive riser for massive food production - Photo Almar B. Autida - 10255663_10201730750126773_1525730629288922985_n
* An impressive riser for massive food production – Photo Almar B. Autida – 10255663_10201730750126773_1525730629288922985_n
* Riser A-form with canisters and tetrapots - Photo Almar B. Autida - 578325_3062890287517_1121267916_32233687_1268465493_n
* Riser with canisters and tetrapots – Photo Almar B. Autida – 578325_3062890287517_1121267916_32233687_1268465493_n
* Riser with jugs - Photo Ako Si Arvin - 9999_363495210436408_1949884367_n
* Riser with jugs – Photo Ako Si Arvin – 9999_363495210436408_1949884367_n
* Riser - different containers with flowers - Photo Berlin Ramos Sadler - 538869_3628175340375_1965966353_n
* Riser – different containers with flowers – Photo Berlin Ramos Sadler – 538869_3628175340375_1965966353_n
* Riser - H-form -Photo Big Bug Creek Farm Store and Garden Center - 971804_565714960118122_175305211_n
* Riser – H-form – Photo Big Bug Creek Farm Store and Garden Center – 971804_565714960118122_175305211_n
* Philippinos constructing a metal riser - A-form - 12003284_1255229017836495_6671859800920701771_n
* Constructing a metal riser – A-form – in The Philippines -12003284_1255229017836495_6671859800920701771_n
 * Constructing a metal riser - A-form - in The Philippines -11218075_1255229134503150_2797106863206369602_n
* Constructing a metal riser – A-form – in The Philippines -11218075_1255229134503150_2797106863206369602_n


Still not convinced about the great value of this method to alleviate malnutrition and hunger ?  Please, send us your better idea.

Pioneering sand dams

Photo credit: Excellent

Sand dams to transform lives in Swaziland


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will construct six sand dams in Swaziland

Swaziland is a landlocked country in southern Africa

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will construct six sand dams in Swaziland

Equator Prize 2015




UNDP and partners are pleased to announce the opening of the Equator Prize 2015 Call for Nominations.   

The Equator Prize 2015 will honor 20 outstanding indigenous peoples and local community initiatives that are reducing poverty, protecting nature, and strengthening resilience in the face of climate change.

We count on the support of Project Steering Committee (PSC) members and project partners to get the announcement out far and wide.

We would like to see a high number of quality nominations from sub-Saharan Africa, and hope to work through your networks to identify leading community-based initiatives and to disseminate the call widely.

The theme of this cycle of the Equator Prize is ‘empowerment, rights, and partnerships for local climate action’.   Emphasis has been placed on indigenous peoples and local communities that are:

  • Protecting, restoring and sustainably managing forests
  • Promoting sustainable agriculture and food security
  • Advancing community-based adaptation to climate change
  • Protecting and securing rights to communal lands, territories and natural resources 
  • Forging innovative partnerships for sustainable development   

Please note that the nomination deadline is May 27, 2015 — this is a shorter nomination period than previous cycles of the award — so your immediate action in activating your networks is most kindly requested. 

The official announcement is attached here (in English and French), and contains all relevant nomination information (nominations may be submitted in 15 different languages), eligibility requirements and selection criteria.

We look forward to hearing your ideas on how to give this announcement maximum visibility and thank you in advance for your support on the outreach and nomination effort.

Building on the successes of  the Equator Prize for Sustainable Land Management in Sub-Saharan Africa (click here for footage) and the Equator Prize 2014 (click here for footage), the Equator Prize 2015 will be awarded at an Academy Awards-style event during the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris in December 2015.     

The Equator Prize 2015 website is here.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my colleague Joseph Corcoran at

Very best regards,

Kazakhstan combating desertification with UNDP (TENGRI NEWS)

Read at :

Kazakhstan to launch national center for countering desertification with UNDP

A national center for countering desertification will be established in Kazakhstan, reports citing the press-service of Kazakhstan Environmental Protection Ministry.

The National Center will be created to attract non-governmental and international organizations, local communities and business structures. “A Central Asian regional center for countering desertification will be created in Kazakhstan by the International Commission on Sustainable Development of Central Asian Countries,” the Ministry stated.

Over two thirds of Kazakhstan’s territory is prone to desertification. According to the authority, a national action plan on countering desertification will be brought into compliance with 10-year strategic plan of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. Kazakhstan’s developed strategy for transition to green economy will include a chapter on countering desertification. “Jointly with UNDP, we will create natural reserves at desert territories,” the Ministry added.

For more information see:
Use of the Tengrinews English materials must be accompanied by a hyperlink to


Drought Adaptation, Climate Change in Africa (Land-l.IISD)

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UNDP, GEF Progam Tackles Drought Adaptation, Climate Change in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Zimbabwe

Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zimbabwe are addressing drought-adaptation and climate change through an ongoing UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) program, titled “Coping with Drought and Climate Change.” The three-year program aims to increase the use of drought-adaptation farming techniques and coping mechanisms and to facilitate sharing of experience and knowledge among the four countries.

The program trains farmers on how to implement drought-adaptation measures, including through using high-yield, drought-resistant seeds and employing early warning systems to predict the rainy season and to plan crop cycles. These strategies have increased crop yields and resulted in more stable crop yields during periods of erratic rainfall, according to UNDP. In Ethiopia, for example, where erratic rainfall patterns have increased vulnerability to climate-related shocks and increased food insecurity in already fragile communities, the introduction of drought-resistant seeds have increased farmers’ adaptive capacity and income and decreased reliance on food aid.


Rio + 20 : Minor progress (Google / Radio Australia)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Minor progress only in 20 years since Rio conference – Clark

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark is the first woman to lead the United Nations Development Programme – a job she’s been in since April 2009.

Ms Clark is championing sustainable development that also protects and conserves the environment ahead of this year’s Rio conference.

Presenter: Geraldine Coutts

Speaker: Helen Clark, administrator, United Nations Development Programme

CLARK: If you go back 20 years to the original Rio Summit that had a huge buzz about it. It got quite a lot of things running, the climate change convention as we know it today, conventions run biodiversity, combatting desertification and so on. Then there was the plus-10 years summit in Johannesburg, which I went to myself as New Zealand Prime Minister in 2002, and now this one. But I think what is different about now as against 1992 is the urgency of the sustainability challenges is just so much greater, so much more compelling. We’re seeing that the mega scale of these natural disasters, which are taking down countries and communities struggling to deal with the impact. So really tackling some of these issues becomes a critical global importance.

COUTTS: Can you just outline some of those issues that are near and dear to your heart and ones that are more pressing?

CLARK: Well the stress on agriculture in a lot of the dry lands countries, which is seeing recurrent food crises. We saw them, people suffering greatly in the west African Sahel area two years ago. Now the drought is back again and people say perhaps the worst in half a century. We saw the drought in the horn of Africa last year, which led to a famine being declared in parts of Somalia. So how we’re going to help communities climb out of these issues and what our organisation, the UNDP is advocating is a triple win approach to policy at the national level and the global level. Let’s look for what are those sweet spots of policies where you can at the same time advance human development and progress economically and socially and sustain the integrity of our environment and ecosystems. We’ve got to look for that triple win approach.




New York, Feb 13 2012  4:05PM

The leaders of United Nations aid agencies, humanitarian organizations and donor governments will meet on Wednesday in Rome to discuss how to urgently scale up assistance in Africa’s Sahel region, where drought and food shortages are threatening millions of lives.

“The needs of the millions affected by drought in the Sahel are enormous, and the time to act is now,” <““>said Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), which will host the meeting at its headquarters.

“This gathering comes at a critical moment as humanitarian agencies are gearing up their response in an effort to prevent a crisis becoming a disaster.”

The Sahel is a regional belt spanning West and Central Africa immediately south of the Sahara Desert and it includes a number of countries which have been regularly afflicted by food insecurity.

Last year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that several areas of the Sahel had been affected by irregular rains during the 2011 cropping season and that an early end to the rains would lead to a significant drop in production and increased food insecurity.

Participants at the meeting, which will hosted at WFP’s headquarters, are expected to include the heads of FAO; the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), as well as the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos and top officials from the European Union and the United States.
For more details go to UN News Centre at

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National Strategy to Combat Desertification in the occupied Palestinian Territory (oPT) – (Google / Group 194)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

  • UNDP Celebrates Launching of Combat Desertification Strategy in Palestine

Author : WAFA |

RAMALLAH – The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Thursday celebrated, in an official ceremony in Ramallah, the launching of the National Strategy to Combat Desertification in the occupied Palestinian Territory (oPT)

The Palestinian Ministry of agricultural in cooperation and full coordination with all relevant parties prepared the agricultural sector strategy; the ‘Shared Vision 2011-2013’ which focused on efficiently and sustainably managing the natural resources in Palestine through increasing water availability and supply management as well as through improving the demand for agricultural water.

Minister of Agricultural, Ahmad Majdalani, stressed that there are many difficulties facing agricultural development in Palestine, particularly the Israeli occupation measures and its settlers aggressions, including the continuation of the oppressive siege on Gaza, the establishment of the annexation and expansion wall in the West Bank, which resulted in the isolation of more than 700 thousand dunums, the Israeli continued control over 80% of Palestinian water rights and its control over more than 85% of agricultural land, the confiscation of land and water and the uprooting of trees for the benefit of settlements, Leading to land degradation and depletion of natural resources and increasing desertification.

He said: ‘The Ministry of Agriculture is implementing several projects that aim to increase the green areas and control desertification, especially the national program for greening of Palestine


Agencies like UNDP will have to continue supporting national development initiatives (Google / IPP Media)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Small producers deserve greater national support

In the foreword to the Summary of the 2011 Human Development Report, United Nations Development Programme Administrator warns that the remarkable progress registered in human development over recent decades cannot continue without bold global steps to reduce both environmental risks and inequality.

She says millions of disadvantaged people the world over are doubly deprived in that they are more susceptible to the wider effects of environmental degradation and must also deal with threats to their immediate environment from indoor air pollution, dirty water and unimproved sanitation.

The UNDP chief was commenting on the global picture, and her remarks will not necessarily reflect the situation on the ground in specific countries or communities. Thus, she may have sounded overly optimistic if specific cases in point in some countries were to be analysed more seriously than actually happened – and vice versa for others.

In Tanzania, for instances, there are areas where the threats of desertification and depletion of marine and other natural resources have manifested themselves for decades on end but little has been done to arrest the problems by containing dangerous practices such as overgrazing, overfishing and opposition to the use of environment-friendly farming, animal husbandry and fishing.

Evidence of this abounds across the country. For example, once upon a time the entire Lake Victoria zone once boasted massive tracts of arable land where cash and food crops ranging from cotton and maize to coffee, tubers, bananas, groundnuts, sorghum, millet and sesame used to – or could – thrive.



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