The main objectives of PRONACOSE are to develop and implement the PMPMS and address drought events at the watershed level. Other objectives are to develop local institutional capacity while simultaneously coordinating and implementing drought mitigation activities as needed and to promote drought research and build a historical archive.

PRONACOSE's mission is to develop the basis for the paradigm shift on drought response from reaction to proactive actions (based on risk management) while also attending to current drought impacts. The vision of the program is to guarantee planning and implementation of drought measures,


National drought policy diagram.

involving public participation in the definition of actions to reduce vulnerability as a pillar for the Mexican strategy on climate change adaptation (expressed in the Climate Change General Law and the National Waters Law, and linked with the National Civil Protection Service activities).

The program envisions that every watershed council will have a PMPMS and periodical evaluation and updates involving members' participation to improve the programs, with interinstitutional coordination instruments at the national level.

The strategy to implement the policy consists of gradually decentralizing drought response, involving stakeholders through the watershed councils and also pairing the watershed councils with teams of academic experts from local universities. The goal is to develop local institutional capacity and begin to change the old reactive top-down approach to addressing drought.

The PMPMS are the main instruments to carry out the strategy, and the goal is that once the basin councils adopt and implement these instruments, they will move to delineate more specific programs for cities and irrigation districts. The PMPMS need to be evaluated and updated regularly to assure that the first updated programs will be institutionalized before the federal administration ends, thereby ensuring they will continue regardless of political administration change.

While the PMPMS are in place and institutional capacity exists at the local level, the IC will be responsible for the coordination of federal mitigation activities. After this occurs, the IC will follow up and evaluate the progress. Another key element of the strategy includes constant feedback from international entities and experts, which may help to enhance the quality of the policy developments.

The process of developing the NDP began immediately after the presidential order calling for its creation. Some of the people involved in responding to the ongoing drought were asked to assemble ideas on how to implement the paradigm shift while coping with the existing drought. Some legal guidelines for drought response had been approved at the end of the previous administration, and these were used for the basic definitions of the phenomena (Diario Oficial de la Federacion 2012).

The technical staff of CONAGUA and the watershed council contacts were convened to prepare the new policy approach. Academic experts were invited to develop training courses and to analyze national and international experiences on drought management that could be used for capacity building. At the same time, the legal framework to create and install the IC was prepared in conjunction with the legal office of the president.

Issues concerning the early warning system were addressed during the first technical discussions, and it was decided to have two approaches. For the new policy and the ongoing mitigation efforts, the Mexican drought monitor was to be used to activate alarms and define the drought severity stages. In addition, the SPI and SDI were kept to run the mitigation programs FONDEN, which will provide funding to address emergency response and damages for water utilities derived from drought periods, and CADENA, which will cover cattle and agriculture damages.

Mexico's participation in the HMNDP in the early design stages was essential in order to connect with evolving international efforts and to continue interaction at subsequent forums, where the Mexican experience was also considered by other international experts and governmental representatives. Mexico became a member of both the advisory and management committees of the integrated drought management program (IDMP), and the Mexican case was part of the National Drought Management Policy Guidelines - A Template for Action published by the IDMP (2014). CONAGUA was also invited to by the World Bank and WmO to present the PRONACOSE experience at meetings in Brazil, Central America, and Turkey. In 2015, the Mexican Water Technology Institute became part of the same IDMP committees due to its strong collaboration with CONAGUA in the design and implementation of the PRONACOSE.

Several training courses were held with CONAGUA technical personnel from the 26 watershed councils and academics from 12 universities throughout the country. Some of these meetings were face to face, while others were through video conferences. The aim was to agree on the basic premises contained in the guidelines. Participation and counseling by national and international experts was part of the process at this early stage.

In addition to the CONAGUA guidelines used by the universities and watershed councils to develop the PMPMS, a detailed supervision tool was developed to help the councils comply with the ambitious process and schedule for developing the programs. A website was developed that included online materials, reports, information, and multimedia tools for everyone to use:

The PMPMS content for the main 26 Mexican basins was defined in the guidelines (CONAGUA 2013) to have a minimum standardization format. It included the following:

  • 1. Abstract
  • 2. Presentation
  • 3. Watershed characterization
  • 4. Task force definition within the watershed council to coordinate and follow up on the elaboration of the PMPMS
  • 5. Objectives definition
  • 6. Drought history and assessment of drought impacts
  • 7. Vulnerability assessment
  • 8. Mitigation and response strategies
  • 9. Drought phases
  • 10. Triggers and measures' objectives
  • 11. Specific program with measures for every drought phase
  • 12. Implementation
  • 13. Monitoring
  • 14. Conclusions
  • 15. Annexes

The process for developing the PMPMS in every basin council should include the following steps, to be accomplished in about 9 months. It is noteworthy that some of the steps correspond to sections of the report: Training workshop to launch the PRONACOSE; a letter of intention from the participating institutions; contact with the technical director of the corresponding basin organization; organization of the directive task force (GTD); work plan and organizational chart; a general report on drought history and impacts in the basin; characterization of the basin; report on the basin's vulnerability; mitigation and responses expected for drought management; phases and characterization of associated indicators; a detailed program for every phase; first version of PMPMS; agreements with stakeholders in at least three meetings; final version of PMPMS; and implementation.

Stakeholders participating in the 26 basin councils were involved in the process of defining measures to be implemented at different stages of drought in accordance with predefined indicators. The initial proposals were presented to them by university experts in consultation with technical personnel from CONAGUA. The university experts facilitated the appropriation and implementation of the PMPMS by the basin council. A highly interactive process was undertaken that involved knowledge of and discussions about the alternatives and some negotiation based on the measures that the stakeholders were willing to apply in their basin.

The principles of decentralization, governance, training, gradualism, and institutional coordination are all considered within the process of building the PMPMS with the purpose of reorienting drought management policy. The first version of PMPMS is intended to be a good approximation (i.e., a tentative first draft) of what is expected to be an accepted, adjusted, and viable program. The process is designed to be a gradual transition to achieve the policy shift.

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