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Assessing drought risk at the global scale to track progress in drought adaptation, mitigation and management

5 July, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm BST

Assessing drought risk at the global scale to track progress in drought adaptation, mitigation and management

Lucy Barker, Hydrological Analyst, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Droughts are known to be one of the most damaging and costly natural hazards as a result of their large spatial scale, creeping nature and long duration. They have widespread primary and secondary impacts, and as such, proactive drought management is crucial to mitigate those impacts. In order to do so, it is crucial to understand the drought risk in terms of the characteristics of the drought hazard, who or what is exposed to the drought hazard, and who (or what) is vulnerable to the effects of drought. Drought mitigation, adaptation and management was adopted as one of five strategic objectives under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNNCD) 2018-2030 Strategic Framework. Country Parties to the UNCCD agreed a monitoring framework and a range of indicators in order to track progress towards this objective.

Here we present new guidance created to help Parties to the UNCCD report on their progress towards Strategic Objective 3 ‘To mitigate, adapt to, and manage the effects of drought in order to enhance resilience of vulnerable populations and ecosystems’. Progress is monitored using three indicators, characterising the three fundamental components of risk: drought hazard, exposure to drought and vulnerability to drought. The recommended methods for each indicator are illustrated using contrasting case studies from the UK and Thailand, utilising the recommended globally available datasets to calculate the three indicators listed above. In-country data are also used, where available, to calculate the indicators, highlighting the benefits of increased spatial resolution, and/or sensitivity to assessing changes in drought hazard, exposure or vulnerability over time. Finally, opportunities for the future of national reporting on drought risk are discussed.

Lucy Barker

Lucy Barker is a Hydrologist at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, specializing in drought research in the UK as well as internationally. She focuses on drought characterisation and improving the implementation of drought indicators for monitoring and early warning application, and contributes drought and hydrological status assessment tools at the national scale for the UK and at the global scale through the WMO HydroSOS initiative. She recently led the development of the Good Practice Guidance for National Reporting on UNCCD Strategic Objective 3, which aims to track drought hazard, exposure and vulnerability over time. Lucy’s work aims to better inform decision-makers, improve resilience and reduce vulnerability to hydrological hazards.

Members and non members of IWF are welcome to attend the meeting.

Free of charge. Attendance is limited to 100.



5 July, 2022
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm BST