The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, which are jointly spearheading international action to address the growing impact of droughts said in a statement that such policies would enable countries have short and long term emergency measures in place to combat drought.
According to the latest WMO Climate Outlook Forum which provides regional climate forecasts, drought is expected to continue in hard-hit southern Somalia as well as parts of Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya during August and September.
The IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) had called for preparedness for an ongoing long period of drought over parts of the equatorial region in its climate update for the Greater Horn of Africa as far back as 15 January 2011.
“Droughts do not happen overnight,” said Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). responding to the declaration of famine by the United Nations earlier this month.
“The UNCCD joins the calls on the international community to respond urgently to this crisis. At the same time, we stress the need for effective, long-term solutions to the root causes of famine in drought-prone regions, such as implementation of drought management systems and measures to stop desertification, which means land degradation in drylands.”
Droughts have become more common over the past two decades. This is consistent with reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, stating that the world has become more drought-prone over the last 25 years, and will see an increased frequency of droughts in the future.
“We are moving forward quickly to provide integrated drought information to help decision-makers deal with drought, such as the one underway right now in East Africa,” said Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization. “Drought is a serious and growing problem in many countries. Adaptation to drought, desertification and climate change urgently needs to be mainstreamed in national development policies.”
WMO the statement added is working with its scientific network to offer the best policy advice available on drought management.