Date of this Version
Sivakumar, M.V.K. 2011.Current Droughts: Context and Need for National Drought Policies. Pages 127-135
Crisis management has typically characterized governmental response to drought. This approach has been ineffective, leading to untimely and poorly coordinated responses. The growing frequency and magnitude of droughts in many parts of the world call for the development of a pro-active, risk-based approach, the tenets of which are outlined in a national drought policy. Improved management of drought requires completion of a vulnerability assessment at the outset to determine those sectors, regions, and population groups most at risk to severe drought. Each country is unique in its vulnerability and institutional capacity to prepare for and respond to drought. Since the national drought policy for any given country will depend very much on the local circumstances and priorities, it is imperative that the guidance provided on the development of a national drought policy not be prescriptive to any government. Instead, we propose to develop a compendium of the desirable elements in a national drought policy from which countries could adopt those elements that will be appropriate to their local circumstances and national priorities. This paper describes some of those elements that could be included in the compendium on national drought policy under three main categories: Drought Monitoring and Early Warning Systems; Vulnerability Assessment and Impacts and Emergency Relief and Response.