Date of this Version
Published in Towards a Compendium on National Drought Policies: Proceedings of an Expert Meeting, July 14-15, 2011, Washington, D.C. USA, pp. 108-114, edited by M. V. K. Sivakumar, R. P. Motha, D. A. Wilhite, and J. J. Qu (Geneva: World Meteorological Organization, 2011).
Drought information systems have multiple sub-systems which include an integrated risk assessment, communication and decision support system of which early warning is a central component and output. There are numerous drought systems warning systems being implemented at different scales of governance from the international to the community. An early warning system is much more than a forecast-it is a linked risk information (including peoples’ perception of risk) and communication system that actively engages communities involved in preparedness. The successes illustrate that effective early warning depends upon a multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration among all concerned actors at each stage in the warning process from monitoring to response and evaluation. However, the links between the community-based approach and the national and global EWSs are relatively weak. The paper identifies pathways for knowledge management and action at the relevant scales for decision-making.