Global Water Partnership / World Meteorological Organization / The World Bank Group / WMO/GWP Integrated Drought Management Programme

Changing minds on drought management – the economic case

Tuesday 28 August | 09.00-10.30 | Room: FH 202
Lucien Stolze

This event tackles the paradox that if proactive drought risk management is socially and economically optimal compared with reactive crisis management, why is the shift from crisis to risk management for droughts happening so slowly and how can we change this? The event will draw on findings from joint activities by the group of expert organizations part of the WMO/GWP Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP) including a joint publication by the World Bank and IDMP. The event will share short experiences that highlight the importance of the timing to build the political case, how the economic argument needs to be framed within the wider political economy and the need for comparable methods. It will highlight innovative financial and social approaches and feature the integrated drought management help desk, serviced by leading expert organizations, as it aims to contribute to solving this challenge by providing guidance and responding to demands. Through a dynamic interaction with the audience the event aims to reflect on how to motivate proactive action towards drought with practical examples.

Gold standard events are committed to ensure the gender balance in speakers/panellists and young professional representation in the session.

Programme

 09:00 – 09:10 Setting the stage – findings from the IDMP work stream on the Benefits of Actions and Costs of Inaction and main challenges for proactive Drought Risk Management, María Angélica Sotomayor, World Bank and Frederik Pischke, Global Water Partnership

09:10 – 09:20 Responding to the challenges – introducing the integrated drought management help desk, Robert Stefanski, World Meteorological Organization

09:20 – 09:25 Session objectives and structure, María Angélica Sotomayor, World Bank

Message 1: Assessment of the benefits of action and the impacts to be avoided needs to be prepared proactively, so that it can be used to propose solutions when a window of opportunity opens

09:25 – 09:30 Drought policy change: The Mexican case, Mario López Pérez, Mexican Water Technology Institute

09:30 – 09:45 Interactive discussion

Message 2: Strengthening the evidence base, showing examples and raising awareness on social and economic co-benefits of Drought Risk Management can be decisive to promote Drought Risk Management interventions

09:45 – 09:50 Agricultural water management for drought risk management in Honduras, Fabiola Tábora, Regional Coordinator, GWP Central America

09:50 – 10:05 Interactive discussion on message 2

Message 3: Phased and integrated strategies and methodologies for Drought Risk Management can be used to help organizing the necessary assessments of the costs and the benefits that each step entails

10:05 – 10:10 A step wise approach and the economic case to drought planning in Central and Eastern Europe, Sabina Bokal, GWP IDMP Central and Eastern Europe project manager

10:10 – 10:20 Interactive discussion on message 3

10:20 – 10:30 Discussion feedback on next steps and on ways to expand the evidence base


Conclusion

The event was structured along three messages emerging from consultations with over 30 organizations. It engaged the audience in a dialogue on the challenges to shift from drought crisis to drought risk management and how to motivate proactive action towards drought. The event drew on findings from joint activities by the World Bank and the group of expert organizations part of the WMO/GWP Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP).

Message 1 highlighted a case study from Mexico: Assessment of the benefits of action and the impacts to be avoided needs to be prepared proactively, so that it can be used to propose solutions when a window of opportunity opens.

Message 2 focused on a case study from Honduras: Strengthening the evidence base, showing examples and raising awareness on social and economic co-benefits of Drought Risk Management can be decisive to promote Drought Risk Management interventions.

Message 3 was contextualized by a case study from Central and Eastern Europe: Phased and integrated strategies and methodologies for Drought Risk Management can be used to help organizing the necessary assessments of the costs and the benefits that each step entails.

About 70% of the audience informed that their country or institution has not made the economic case for drought planning, highlighting the lack of political will and the lack of data as the main challenges. Limited interactions among partners were considered by the audience as the main challenge to strengthen the evidence of the benefits of drought risk management. For the way forward, participants favoured in order of preference (1) the development of a common conceptual framework for assessing drought risk and analysing the benefits of action/costs of inaction, (2) strengthening the evidence base and (3) taking advantage of a drought crisis to engage the political leadership.

Recommendations:

1) Develop a common conceptual framework for assessing drought risk and analysing the benefits of action/costs of inaction

2) Strengthen the evidence base of the benefits of drought risk management.

Initiatives that support the learning objectives and have fostered the goals of the session:

1) A joint publication by the World Bank and IDMP on the benefits of actions and costs of inaction providing insights on the economic case to shift from drought crisis to drought risk management and how to motivate proactive action towards drought will be released in the coming months.

2) The event featured the integrated drought management help desk run by the Integrated Drought Management Programme and serviced by leading expert organizations. The IDMP help desk aims to contribute to solving the challenge of shifting from a reactive to a proactive approach by providing guidance and responding to demands.