COP14 - IFAD shares country experiences in UN-Water drought event

By Marie-Aude Even, IFAD Senior Regional Agronomist

On 5 September 2019, IFAD participated to the UN-water side event - Dealing with drought: a multifaceted view that shared country integrated drought management programmes that associate land and water conservation, as advocated by UNCCD drought initiative.

The International Organization on Migration highlighted that drought leads to increased migration and therefore we need to invest in drought mitigation and preparedness. They presented the integrated drought management framework. Vulnerability assessments review people and community resilience, maps land and ecosystems and measures water balances to identify drought risks and prioritize actions.

Turkey presented its country work on implementing integrated and concerted watershed approach to fight land degradation and retain water. The programme includes afforestation, terracing, dune fixations and small water collection infrastructures as well as watershed monitoring system.

South Africa presented its pro-active policy to drought that builds on a solid drought monitoring system associated to early warning systems and risk mitigation plans that includes different water restrictions for domestic and agricultural water use. Their system enabled them to face severe drought and start recharge their ground water. The presenter insisted on the importance of comprehensive drought monitoring system, institutional coordination and people engagement, short response time and innovations to facilitate behavioural change (water consumption data is public and rewards best consumers). The challenge is then to keep stakeholders engaged when drought risk decreases.

Tunisia presented its national drought plan that associates solid monitoring in connection with the Sahel observatory, early warning and alert system and implementation which requires strong institutional capacities and coordination. Promoting sustainable land management and ecosystem restoration is key to increase water retention and mitigate drought impacts.

Soumaila Abdoullaye, Coordinator of the Family Farming Development Programme (ProDAF) in Niger, presented the experience from IFAD supported ProDAF in mitigating drought. The approach includes both large investment in water infrastructures to recharge ground water, smaller infrastructure to retain water and investments in ecosystem restorations and sustainable land management practices.

An institutional framework is also important and includes a strong participatory process, multi-sectorial committees to manage water among different water users, including women, who manage domestic water use. The project also includes a monitoring system to measure water recharge and salinity.