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IRIN Examines Issues Surrounding Implementation Of National Drought Policies

“There is quite a leap to be made between a country’s declared intent to draw up a drought policy and actually making it happen on the ground,” according to “several participants at the recent High-Level Meeting on National Drought Policy in Geneva,” IRIN reports. “Drought is the world’s costliest natural disaster, incurring $6-8 billion in losses every year,” yet “few countries have drought policies in place,” the news service notes, and writes, “After five days of deliberations at the first-ever global conference on drought in Geneva, those in attendance issued a non-binding declaration urging countries to develop and implement national drought policies.”

“The declaration was accompanied by a series of policy options for countries to consider,” according to IRIN, which adds, “The policy document recommends a 10-step process roughly modeled on the U.S. government’s drought preparedness plan. The steps are a mix of crisis prevention, making countries and communities more resilient, response and science.” The news service continues, “Yet there remains a significant gap between the policies advocated and the capacities of the most vulnerable countries,” and writes, “Ultimately, implementing the meeting’s drought policy recommendations will require political will, noted [World Meteorological Organization] Deputy Secretary-General Jerry Lengoasa” (3/18).