Water insecurity costs the global economy roughly US$ 500 billion annually and causes the death and displacement of more people than cyclones, floods and earthquakes combined. In particularly vulnerable economies, a 50% reduction in drought effects could lead to a 20% increase in per capita GDP over a period of 30 years. Therefore, mechanisms to enhance integrated drought management are more critical than ever.
As part of an ongoing drive to promote more proactive policies to deal with this major natural hazard, WMO and the Global Water Partnership have joined with other partners to launch an online HelpDesk for the Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP) designed to provide tailored guidance to drought-impacted populations around the world.
The HelpDesk is in line with the mission of IDMP to provide stakeholders with policy guidance, scientific information, and best practices for integrated drought management. With its “Ask” and “Find” functions, the HelpDesk enables stakeholders to contact experts directly for advice and access extensive collections of drought management knowledge.
WMO and the Global Water Partnership co-sponsor the IDMP, which has over ten other partners with diverse expertise in drought management that have agreed to respond to HelpDesk inquiries. Government officials, civil society organizations, meteorologists, academics and private sector professionals facing drought-related issues are encouraged to use the request function on the IDMP webpage. Requests are vetted to the IDMP partner organization best equipped to provide a tailored response.
The new HelpDesk was launched on the first day of the annual meeting of the IDMP Advisory and Management Committee, the Programme’s governing bodies. The launch coincided with the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, taking place in Mongolia from 6 to16 September. It is based on the successful model of the Integrated Flood Management HelpDesk.