Established in 1994, UNCCD is the only legally binding international agreement on land issues. Its 197 Parties aim, through partnerships, to implement the Convention and achieve Sustainable Development Goals. The end goal is to protect our land, from over-use and drought, so it can continue to provide us all with food, water and energy. Droughts are the most far-reaching of all-natural disasters, causing short and long-term economic and ecological losses as well as significant secondary and tertiary impacts. To reduce societal vulnerability to droughts, there is a need to overcome the prevailing structures of reactive, post-hazard management approaches and to move towards proactive and risk management approaches.
Hence, one out of the five UNCCD strategic objectives is focusing on drought with the aim to “mitigate, adapt to, and manage the effects of drought in order to enhance resilience of vulnerable populations and ecosystems”. UNCCD’s focus on drought risk management is particularly on ‘prevention’ and ‘preparedness’ rather than ‘recovery’ measures. This prioritization was confirmed in COP 13 (2017) and COP 14 (2019) decisions. The COP guided, for example, the process of developing national drought plans and drought preparedness systems, promoted the use of the UNCCD drought resilience, adaptation and management policy (DRAMP) framework that aims to reduce drought risk and increase resilience and notably the COP requested the secretariat and the GM to implement a drought initiative (Decision 29/COP.13). In addition, most recently the COP decided to establish an Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) on effective policy and implementation measures for addressing drought under the UNCCD (Decision 23/COP 14).
Against this backdrop, UNCCD plans to designate a Collaborative Centres (CCs) in the field of drought preparedness, water security and related thematic areas in order to facilitate the implementation of the convention and achieve its current goals through up-to-date expert advice and engaging in scientific and technical cooperation with other institutions. Other areas will be identified as needs arise. The CCs would be key institutions with relevant expertise that represent a valuable resource as an extended and integral arm of UNCCD’s capacity to implement its mandated work. This would mean a diverse range of activities such as supporting with reliable data on drought monitoring and early warning systems, drought risk profiling and feasible drought risk mitigation strategies and implementation measures; providing expertise
on identified topics, weighing in high-level meetings and engaging in awareness raising. The CCs will be highly valued mechanism of cooperation in which they are recognized by UNCCD and its 197 Parties.
This is accomplished by supporting the achievement of planned strategic objectives at the regional and global levels; enhancing the scientific validity of its global work; and developing and strengthening institutional capacity in countries and regions.