Early Outputs of Global Collaboration—The Approach of the Integrated Drought Management Programme

The strength of the initiatives that have been formed following the HMNDP is that they provide a common framework, to which previously disparate efforts can contribute. The efforts that the IDMP and the UN-Water initiative were carried out in partnership and have leveraged the activities of its partners to determine the status and needs of countries and move forward collectively to support addressing these needs. To date, more than 30 organizations have agreed to support and provide input to the goals of the IDMP. The IDMP also uses the network of NMHS and related institutions affiliated with WMO (the United Nations specialized agency for weather, climate and water) and the regional and country water partnerships of the GWP as the multistakeholder platform to bring together actors from government, civil society, the private sector, and academia working on water resources management, agriculture, and energy. In addition, the IDMP liaises with related initiatives that are not formally part of IDMP but which are contributing to WMO and GWP.

Against the background of the HMNDP, the IDMP developed guidance for national drought policy development and implementation. Based on one of the tools that has been instrumental for the development of drought preparedness plans in the United States (Wilhite 1991; Wilhite et al. 2005), Wilhite adapted the 10-step planning process within the framework of the IDMP. These guidelines (WMo and GWP 2014) focus on a national policy context and draw on experiences from different countries. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide countries with a template that they can use and modify for their own purposes. Countries should not blindly use the 10-step process. The process should be modified by local experiences and context. For example, countries in central and eastern Europe have adapted the guidelines to the context of the European Union (EU) Water Framework Directive (see Section 3.4.1), and Mexico has also modified the 10-step process (see Chapter 19) to its national context (WMO and GWP 2014). The guidelines are further elaborated in Chapter 4 and the complete publication is available at the IDMP website (http:www.droughtmanagement.info) in the six official languages of the United Nations.

Another early accomplishment of the IDMP is the publication of the "Handbook of Drought Indicators and Indices" (see Chapter 9), which provides options for identifying the severity, location, duration, onset, and cessation of such conditions (WMO and GWP 2016). The purpose of this handbook is to provide to drought practitioners some of the most commonly used drought indicators/indices that are being used across drought-prone regions, with the goal of further advancing monitoring, early warning, and information delivery systems in support of risk-based drought management policies and preparedness plans. The handbook is a reference book with details of more than 50 drought indices and indicators, including information on their ease of use, origins, characteristics, input parameters, applications, strengths, weaknesses, resources (including access to software code), and references. Information derived from indicators and indices is useful in planning and designing applications (such as risk assessment, drought early warning systems, and decision support tools for managing risks), provided that the climate regime and drought climatology is known for the location. The handbook is further described in Chapter 9.

With the aim of improving understanding of the benefits of action and costs of inaction on drought mitigation and preparedness, the IDMP has been developing a work stream on this issue with a literature review as a first output (WMO and GWP 2017). The literature review is presented in Chapter 5.

The IDMP uses information from its partners to keep track of the status of national drought policies and activities from around the world. One example of using an output from a partner organization is the use of a WMO survey to assess the status of the agricultural meteorological products and services provided by the NMHS of the world. In the most recent survey (2010-2014), the NMHS were requested to list current drought indices in use in their country and whether the country has a national drought policy or plan. This is not an all-inclusive list; out of the 52 countries that responded, 17 indicated that they have some sort of national drought policy or plan. The results of this survey are only a starting point. The IDMP uses various sources of information such as this survey to keep track of the status of national drought policies around the world. The work of the IDMP and its partners is then to liaise with these countries to see if these policies or plans are actually implemented and if their objectives are fulfilled.

In order to support countries in developing and implementing drought management actions, an integrated drought management help desk is in the process of being established. The help desk approach draws on the sister program of the IDMP, the WMO/GWP Associated Programme for Flood Management (APFM), which established the Integrated Flood Management Help Desk in 2009 to provide support for the implementation of the principles of integrated flood management. The Integrated Drought Management Help Desk will consist of a "Find" section (providing existing knowledge resources), an "Ask" section (offering a point of contact to expertise), and a "Connect" facility (providing an overview and a connection to ongoing initiatives). The resources that have been developed and the regional initiatives of the IDMP will populate the help desk. It should be stressed that these help desks are available to any government agency, national institution, or individual. Requests for assistance can be made via email, correspondence, or phone call. Depending on the type of request, the expected assistance would include pointing out relevant resource material, providing detailed information on a procedure, advisory services, and, in some cases, the development of training or a country visit.

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