A new alliance is being launched on November 7th at the COP27 climate change conference in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt to help boost global drought resilience and shift drought management approaches away from the current emergency response.
The International Drought Resilience Alliance aims to serve as a collaborative platform to drive political momentum and spur countries, cities and communities on to facilitate the shift from emergency response towards resilience, with the aim being to reduce vulnerability, impact and exposure to extreme drought.
The most recent Drought in Numbers report from the UN Convention to Combat Desertification shows that the frequency of drought has risen by 29 per cent since 2000, affecting 55 million people each year.
Recent events in places like Europe, Chile, Australia, the western US, the Horn and South Africa indicate that no country is immune to the problems posed by drought conditions.
Furthermore, projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are that droughts will become more frequent, more severe and last longer as time goes on. Part of the problem, of course, is climate change but it’s also important to note that land and water resource management is also a contributing factor.
The IPCC has now predicted that three out of every four people around the world will be living in drier water-scarce conditions come the year 2050… which is why this new alliance may prove to be vital in the near future.
Pedro Sanchez Perez-Castejon, president of the Government of Spain, observed in September that setting up the alliance will serve as a “specific solution for the United Nations” to the impacts of climate change.
He went on to say: “Together with Senegal, we will support the creation of an International Alliance for Drought Resilience to promote innovation, technology transfer and the mobilisation of resources to combat drought in countries exposed to this threat.”
What is drought resilience?
The frequency, intensity and duration of periods of drought are all increasing around the world and experts believe that this trend will continue, making it even harder than it already is to forecast water supply and demand requirements, as well as ensuring water quality.
Drought resilience is all about finding the best and most appropriate solutions to the problem, helping communities safeguard resources in the future.
Potential strategies include prioritising water efficiency through the use of low-flow plumbing, fixing ageing infrastructure and sorting out leaks quickly, using stormwater and rainwater harvesting systems to support water supplies and recharge aquifers, and the promotion of water reuse for potable and nonpotable applications.
As time goes on and the effects of climate change are increasingly felt, coupled with population growth and increased urbanisation, it will become even more important to focus on water conservation and efficiency.
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