International attention towards enhancing drought preparedness has increased in recent years. A high-level meeting on national drought policies (HMNDP) was held in Geneva in 2013. March 2015 saw the development and adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction which laid out priorities to reduce risks from natural disasters. UNCCD and the government of Namibia and other partners organised African drought conference with a view to developing a strategic framework and channelling support towards addressing these needs.
The conference comprised a three-day meeting of technical experts followed by a one-and-a-half day high level segment. The technical meeting identify and analysed the needs of African countries for effective drought mitigation to develop potential solutions for addressing these needs. National and international experts were invited to present papers on different thematic areas linked to droughts.
The two major outputs include the deliberation of a white paper on Drought Resilient and Prepared Africa (DRAPA) and (b) the Windhoek Declaration. The framework highlights six principles: (i) drought policy and governance for drought risk management, (ii) drought monitoring and early warning, (iii) drought vulnerability and impact assessment, (iv) drought mitigation, preparedness and response, (v) knowledge management and drought awareness and (vi) reducing the underlying factors of drought risk. In the Windhoek declaration, establishment of a continentwide African Network with national institutions for Drought Monitoring and Early Warning Systems is mentioned. The role of Space technology in this endeavor cannot be underestimated.
The policy options and principles allow for enhanced and context specific drought risk mitigation measures. This will also allow African countries to plan for a common strategy on a region to harness the potential, synergize efforts and south-south cooperation
African Member States and Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) declare commitment to implement the Strategic Framework for Drought Risk Management and Enhancing Resilience in Africa, which proposes a Drought Resilient and Prepared Africa (DRAPA).