The African Drought Conference (ADC) on "Enhancing resilience to drought events on the African continent" concluded today in Windhoek, Namibia, after adopting the Windhoek Declaration.
The conference built on 11th Session of the Conference Of Parties (COP-11) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, which was held in September 2013. It also served as a follow-up, in many ways, to the High-Level Meeting on National Drought Policies that WMO held in March 2013 in Geneva.
During the conference, international and African experts delivered presentations on drought monitoring, drought preparedness and risk management, early warning systems, sand and dust storms, food security, innovative financing, and other relevant topics.
In her video message to the closing session, WMO Deputy-Secretary General Elena Manaenkova said "The first six months of 2016 were the hottest such period on record, shattering the 2015 records by considerable margins. Clearly, drought preparedness and management plans are essential tools for mitigating drought events and building resilience to their impacts."
"The good news is that climate information that can inform local and regional plans is increasingly available via regional and national seasonal climate outlooks. Such outlooks are produced by WMO Regional Climate Centres, Regional Climate Outlook Forums and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services," she said.
The Windhoek Declaration for Enhancing Resilience to Drought in Africa adopted the Strategic Framework for Drought Risk Management and Enhancing Resilience in Africa, which proposes a Drought Resilient and Prepared Africa (DRAPA) at the national level guided by the following six elements:
- Drought Policy and Governance for Drought Risk Management;
- Drought Monitoring and early warning;
- Drought vulnerability and impact assessment;
- Drought mitigation, preparedness, and response;
- Knowledge management and drought awareness,
- Reducing underlying factors of drought risk.
The Parties committed to many items of which a few are summarized below:
- Implementation of the Strategic Framework for Drought Risk Management and Enhancing Resilience in Africa, which proposes a Drought Resilient and Prepared Africa (DRAPA);
- Request that the African Union Commission, with support from the Government of Namibia, ensure that the Strategic Framework for Drought Risk Management and Enhancing Resilience in Africa be adopted by the relevant bodies of the African Union (AU) and its subsequent endorsement at the AU Summit;
- Establish a continent-wide African Network with national institutions for Drought Monitoring and Early Warning Systems, and strengthen existing regional, sub-regional, and national early warning services (EWSs) in order to facilitate timely drought information, vulnerability and impact assessment, and mitigation measures at the country, regional and continental levels;
- Invite all International Financial Institutions (IFIs), the African Develop Bank, Bilateral and Development Partners, the United Nations agencies, amongst others, the WMO, UNCCD, FAO, UNDP, UNOOSA, WFP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNICEF and the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, public and private sector, and civil society to take into account the outcomes of the ADC and support Member States to implement DRAPA at continental, regional, sub-regional, and national levels consistent with the national regulatory frameworks.
The full text of the Windhoek Declaration can be found here.