New Delhi, India – “Drought is a major obstacle to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 15. We need to move faster in our fight against drought. Let us dust this villain, and mitigate climate change,” said Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD, Executive Secretary in his opening remarks at the Drought Preparedness Day that took place on 11 September at the Rio Conventions Pavilion.
The UNCCD secretariat dedicated the tenth day of COP14 to the theme of dDrought to present and discuss the success and challenges of the current tools, methodologies and policies that support drought preparedness, across the globe.
The Drought Preparedness Day was co-organized by UNCCD, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), The Global Water Partnership (GWP) and The World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Rene Castro, Assistant Director-General, Climate, Biodiversity, Land and Water Department, at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, emphasised on the need to shift from a reactive mind-set to a proactive one. He said, “We need to prepare, predict, plan together to stop drought becoming famine. One actor alone cannot achieve this. We need to work together across countries, UN-agencies, NGOs, academia, indigenous and local communities, private sector, including family farmers and more.
“I am excited to see an all women panel here at the COP14. Gender mainstreaming into all activities and policies on drought preparedness increases our effectiveness”, said Mr. Thiaw.
The event made a special call on the importance of gender-responsive drought impact mitigation measures, and aligns itself with the UNCCD Gender Action Plan.
“What are we if we see agriculture production decreasing and we cannot feed our children? We have no dignity if we have no land to fed us”, said, Ms. Samia Nkrumah, President of Kwame Nkrumah Pan African Centre, Ghana.
The launch of the new UNCCD interactive Drought Toolbox became the highlight of the day, offering country parties a practical interactive platform to develop national drought plans and switch to a proactive approach to drought management. The toolbox, developed by UNCCD as part of the Drought Initiative through close partnership with WMO, FAO, GWP, National Drought Mitigation Center of the University of Nebraska, and UNEP-DHI, gives drought stakeholders easy access to tools, case studies and other resources to boost the resilience of people and ecosystems to drought.
As part of tvebiomovies 2019, the Fifth Global Youth Video Competition made a call to young people to produce a 3-minute video on local positive action around climate, land and biodiversity. The videos were then put online to be judged by a global youth audience, reaching almost 400,00 views.
UNCCD supported a category focused on Balancing use of land for people and ecosystems which received 89 entries from 68 countries. The video with the most views at the end of the voting period was “Reserva: The Youth Land Trust” by Callie Broaddus from the United States. You can watch it here.