Chapter 7.1 – Drought-Management Policies and Preparedness Plans: Changing the Paradigm from Crisis to Risk Management
by Donald A. Wilhite, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE, USA
There is increasing concern worldwide about the ineffectiveness of current drought-management practices that are largely based on crisis management. These practices are reactive and, therefore, only treat the symptoms and impacts of drought rather than the underlying causes for the vulnerabilities associated with these impacts. Through the adoption of national drought policies that are focused on risk reduction and complemented by drought mitigation or preparedness plans at various levels of government, the coping capacity of nations to manage droughts can be improved. Given the spiraling impacts of droughts in an ever-increasing number of sectors, as well as the current and projected trends for the increased frequency, severity, and duration of drought events in association with a changing climate, it is clear that the time for adopting an approach that emphasizes drought risk reduction is now. This chapter discusses the principles and objectives of national drought policies and a template for the development of these policies for governments as a follow-up to the High-level Meeting on National Drought Policies held in Geneva, Switzerland, in March 2013.
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Donald is a professor of applied climate science in the School of Natural Resources. He is the founding director of the International Drought Information Center and the National Drought Mitigation Center. Donald served as director of the NDMC from 1995 until 2007, when he was appointed director of the School of Natural Resources. On August 1, 2012, he stepped down from the SNR director role to rejoin the faculty. Donald has been a faculty member at UNL since 1977. My principal areas of interest include drought monitoring, preparedness, mitigation and policy; climate change; climate impact assessment; and the development of climate-based decision support tools.
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