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UN calls for policies to counter drought threats worldwide

Wednesday, 22 August 2012 - 12:32pm IST | Place: United Nations | Agency: PTI
The United Nations has sought consolidated efforts to combat climate change threat and counter its effects on global food security.

As farmers from Africa to India struggle with insufficient rainfall, the United Nations has sought consolidated efforts to combat climate change threat and counter its effects on global food security.

"Climate change is projected to increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of droughts, with impacts on many sectors, in particular food, water, and energy," warned World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

"We need to move away from a piecemeal, crisis-driven approach and develop integrated risk-based national drought policies," he said in a statement, apparently prompted by lack of rains in Africa and large parts of India.

The WMO and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), along with other UN agencies, are intensifying efforts to establish a more coordinated and proactive strategy for managing drought risk to fill existing policy vacuums in countries around the world.

A high-level meeting on National Drought Policy has been scheduled in March next year in Geneva, Switzerland.

Pointing to the situation in India, WMO Climate Prediction and Adaptation Branch Director Mannava Sivakumar said the country was experiencing very serious droughts with countrywide rainfall 17% below normal.

In Punjab, India's breadbasket, rainfall was recorded 70% below normal, he said.

The southwest monsoon season that began in early June in India brought deficient rainfall in half of the 624 districts in the country through the end of July.

From June through August, which is the first half of the monsoon season, total average seasonal rainfall was just 81% of the long term average, while in the northwest region of the country cumulative rainfall was 65 per cent of the long-term average.


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