June 14, 2016 at 10:46 pm #11180
From experience and readings, it is clear that the measurement of impacts resulting from droughts is both complex and challenging. Further, relief from/and mitigation of the impacts of droughts is unevenly distributed. Drawing from global, national and regional practices, discuss:
• The steps to be taken for generating systematic measurements of the impacts of droughts; and
• How the state can address the short and long term impacts of droughts in a fair and just manner
June 20, 2016 at 6:11 pm #11304
Hope you’ll had a very happy weekend. It must have been both a time of relaxation and reflection.
I did get time to research as well as reflect. To start with I searched on the systematic steps taken by different actors to generate systematic information on impacts of droughts. I found frameworks and models for doing the same, but did not get a comprehensive measurement or tools for collecting data. Most of them are micro level information. While this is invaluable it is inadequate to base interventions on.
In the event that you have knowledge of your country or region that has collected data on the basis of which interventions are made or your own thoughts of how this could be done, please share, as this is invaluable.
It could form the basis of a methodology for different actors addressing the impacts of droughts.
Looking forward and best wishes
June 21, 2016 at 4:01 pm #11337
Hi Shanta Mohan,
The steps to be taken for generating systematic measurements of the impacts of droughts ( or in order to assess the potential impact of a possible future drought) are the requirement of quantitative information on both the severity of past drought events and on their related impacts (damages and/or losses).
Disaster impacts of drougth could therefore be measured in terms of losses or damages, where the term loss represents negative economic impacts (measured in monetary units) while the term damage refers to the total or partial destruction of physical assets in the affected area (Smith and Ward 1998, de Groeve et al 2014).
Thus, damages occur during and immediately after a drought disaster and could be measured in physical units (e.g., square meters of housing, kilometres of roads, kg ha−1, kWh) to be reused for mitígate the impacts of future droughts.
A state could address the short and long term impacts of droughts by following these proposed indicators:
1)Three meteorological drought indicators were selected in order to describe past European drought events (Spinoni et al 2015): the standardized precipitation index (SPI; McKee et al 1993), the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI; Vicente Serrano et al 2010), and the reconnaissance drought index (RDI; Tsakiris and Vangelis 2005).
(Input data here are precipitation, minimum temperature, and maximum temperature.)
2) In rural / agricultural areas, data on cereal yield, measured in kilograms per hectare of harvested land, include wheat, rice, maize, barley, oats, rye, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, and mixed grains from non-irrigated farmland. Cereals harvested for hay or harvested green for food, feed, or silage and those used for grazing are excluded. FAO allocates production data to the calendar year in which the bulk of the harvest takes place.
3) The data on electricity production (in kWh) refers to hydroelectric power plants based in drought areas (World Bank database).
Without good adaptation or improved mitigation measures, there will be larger uncertainties when projecting future drought damages.
June 21, 2016 at 6:07 pm #11340
Hi, Laila OUALKACHA
My contribution to the above questions can be summarized on the following:
•Step 1: Evaluate the intensity of drought which is generally measured by the departure of some climatic parameter (e.g., precipitation), indicator (e.g., reservoir levels) or index (e.g., Standardized Precipitation Index) from normal and is closely linked to duration in the determination of impact.
•Step 2: Evaluate drought duration. Droughts usually require a minimum of two to three months to become established but then can continue for months or years.
•Step 3: Evaluate the spatial characteristics of drought: the areas affected by severe drought evolve gradually, and regions of maximum intensity shift from season to season. From a planning perspective, the spatial characteristics of drought have serious implications. Nations should determine the probability that drought may simultaneously affect all or several major crop-producing regions or river basins within their borders and develop contingencies if such an event were to occur.
•Step 4: Evaluate the probability of a regional drought simultaneously affecting agricultural productivity, water supplies and food supplies. A drought policy and preparedness plan that depends on the importation of food from neighboring countries may not be viable if a regional-scale drought occurs.
•Step 5: Build the drought early warning and information systems (DEWIS). Effective drought early warning systems must integrate precipitation data with other data such as stream flow, snowpack, ground water levels, reservoir and lake levels, and soil moisture in order to assess drought and water supply conditions. It is more effective to design DEWIS that rely on multiple physical indicators and climatic indices in combination with social indicators that aims to reduce vulnerability and improve response capacities of people at risk. The timing and form of climatic information inputs (including forecasts and projections), and access to trusted guidance and capability to interpret and implement the information and projections in decision-making processes, are as important to individual users as improvements in prediction skill. Governments should maintain DEWIS to warn their citizens and themselves about impending hazards, resulting for example, from health, geologic or climate and weather-related drivers. Seasonality already provides decision makers with clear indications of regions that are potentially at risk.
Monitoring the above identified natural indicators of drought is a key component for addressing drought challenges.
June 23, 2016 at 9:52 pm #11398
Hi Ledoux and Laila,
Thank you for clearly listing and discussing in detail the steps to be taken to generate systematic measurements of the impacts of droughts. These measures of natural and physical indicators are invaluable and necessary in identifying drought hit and drought prone areas/regions and evolving short and long term strategies for drought mitigation. Most governments base their response on these measures.
There is, however, a human face to the impacts of droughts which gets subsumed in mainstream discourse. The only time that attention is paid to the social, economic, health aspects of human life is when the crisis reaches such magnitude that the right to life and the right to lead a life with dignity of individuals is threatened. The challenge is that impacts to be established as a consequence of droughts spans over a period of time. Information and data generated are usually the outcome of micro studies carried out by independent agencies and civil society organisations. Since the state actors have information on regions that are at risk of drought/s, it needs to map out and monitor the most vulnerable so as to effectively address these impacts. Given that the state has access as well as control over resources (human and financial), it should develop indicators and methodologies in consultation with stakeholders for collection of data periodically so that the interventions they make are rational and justifiable.
Please share your thoughts on this.
June 24, 2016 at 2:08 am #11408
My name is WAMBA André Le Doux.
Many thanks indeed for your comment ad it was a pleasure reading you. I have really liked your explanation. It has enabled me to know about “a human face to the impacts of droughts which gets subsumed in mainstream discourse.” This aspect of the human face to the impacts has been forgotten – not only in drought but also in many other disasters – by most governments who only think of measures concerning natural and physical indicators to identify drought hit and drought prone areas/regions.
I have also valued this: “The challenge is that impacts to be established as a consequence of droughts spans over a period of time.”
I therefore has a question: could you give more explanation on how “impacts” could become “a consequence of droughts”?
June 21, 2016 at 9:40 pm #11347
Diego Alejandro Guzmán AriasParticipant
I am Diego G.
I think that together these two alternatives, “fair and just” That’s the difficulty. Now when these conflicts should be resolved between different countries or regions, the approach is much more complex. Moreover, there is a need for water and climate information is scarce in many countries trying to cope with the drought. I’m Colombian and I live in Brazil three years ago, but in my country we have a case that has now become evident because of the publicity it has had in the last a] no. This is the case of Guiajira, the northernmost state of Colombia, an arid place but with great mining pontecial, rich in coal, salt and grandisima social wealth. The incursion of large mining, without proper control of the government and political corruption have trimmers the region and exacerbated the problem of lack of water.
June 24, 2016 at 2:20 am #11411
It is really two alternatives: “the fair” and “the just”.
Information and data carry out by independent agencies and civil society organisations and other information and data generated from state actors (government).
June 25, 2016 at 6:34 pm #11478
I am in total agreement with you. The apathy of the State in conditions of tremendous distress is disheartening. The experience of India is no different. Political representatives seem to pay attention only when the crisis reaches a level that is alarming, and that to for their own interest. In spite of recurring drought for three consequent years in Latur, West India (which has become famous for the wrong reasons, sic!), no steps were taken by the state to address the problem which people were facing on a everyday basis. A responsible and accountable state would have monitored the situation from year one when this region was declared as drought hit and put in place policies and interventions to safeguard the fundamental right of people to water, in particular, safe and adequate drinking water. If the state had taken measures to mitigate drought and the subsequent impacts on the people, they would not have to transport drinking water by train covering a distance of 342 kilometers.
In all this, there must be ways that transparency and accountability will prevail.
June 26, 2016 at 2:35 pm #11488
Thank you for the interest you have shown regarding impacts as a consequence of droughts. As you are aware arid and semi-arid regions are more prone to droughts. In this context, I reiterate that it is the obligation of the state to give priority attention to these areas. The fact of the matter is that no attention is paid to these regions even after the area is declared as hit by drought and/or recurring droughts. The state should have been collating data and information over a period of years to document the changes from a good year to that of years of trauma, particularly keeping in mind that socio-economic impacts are time sensitive. This would have facilitated the state in taking effective steps to mitigate drought/s as well as plan for interventions that are sensitive to the problems that especially the vulnerable sections in society face.
We could brain-storm taking one component (economic, social, health, education, etc.) as an example and identify some of the non-negotiable indicators against which information and data should be mandated and collected.
I am sure that (this question of your’s) this platform will give all of us, in this course, to do a real time exercise.
Best wishes and looking forward to some great interaction.
June 26, 2016 at 4:32 pm #11493
A big thank you for your comment.
I am really proud to have learnt more regarding impacts as a consequence of droughts!
June 26, 2016 at 6:45 pm #11494
Hi All, Federica speaking. Of course states and municipality have the main responsibility, especially in cities and where people are paying tax. They must make an assessment about all things can be affected by drought, especially the most vulnerable ones, and develop indicators and M&E system.
But, as we said, most vulnerable people are the poorest ones, which in my case in Mozambique, are people living in rural areas in vast territories, more or less ”abandon” by the estate and organised in communities. That’s is mainly where we works with ONGs. I think also those communities have their responsibility. Of course they can’t do much alone, but they should be more interested and participating in this issues.They need to work and invest on it. They can joying and make some advocacy. Looking to my personal experience in Mozambique I do not see ownership and commitment of poor people, especially in issues like water where they just wait for the Government interventions.I know I will be criticised for this affirmation but we have to recognise responsibilities from all actors
June 27, 2016 at 12:03 am #11497
Many thanks for your comment.
However, how do poor and vulnerable communities facing impacts of drougth have their responsibility?
How do the ownership and the commitment of poor people could make the water available without any help or any capacity building from NGOs, Government, Municipalities,…?
June 27, 2016 at 12:58 am #11498
of course communities can’t do it alone but I wanted to say that IWRM and DRR (which goes together) should be also requested from the community, like a top up process. Different NGOs are working to rising concern about it and that can be an help, but communities itself have or must develop capacities for this. They have to help themselves. Of course they will not call it DRR or IWRM or will not use the scientific terminology, but doesn’t matter. In normal situation, without a drought, rarely communities are organised or want to invest their money to properly manage their water infrastructures in Mozambique. We have more then 30% of the water hand pump not functionally and they do not clean and manteing small dams or small water system which can help during drought and normal time. Most of the time those repairing are just a matter of hand work or few dollars of spar parts. Then what is really miss is the willing to do it and the afford to organise themselves. Communities must organise and apply advocacy plans for the government and raise their voice.
Are there probably cultural impediments to this. Even those, cultures change! For a foreign, despite I’m living in Africa since 16 years, it’s hard to understand. Maybe you can understand better.
I will waiting to learning from you :0)
June 27, 2016 at 3:00 am #11503
Many thanks for your comment raising this social / cultural aspect in poor communities.
Here in Cameroon, many water hand pumps do not work well and they are abandoned in bush!
Do we put the blame only on communities for not having repaired? I think we should also think of the companies implementing these water projects.
Why do “more then 30% of the water hand pump not functionally”? These companies should answer first.
They often have a period of time (at least a year) to keep alive (to maintain) these water infrastructures while training a selected group of members in the communities on how to manage and on how to sustain these water hand pumps long after they have gone.
June 27, 2016 at 2:44 pm #11518
Hi Santha Mohan,
To measure the impacts of drought, there is a need for the development of its quantitative measures depending on the discipline affected, the region being considered, and the particular application. I agree with the contribution of others stated above but the human aspect of drought needs to be looked into as well. As much efforts is being put to the amount of precipitation available per season, other drivers of drought should also be put into consideration. For example, the socioeconomic characteristics of the people in an area, the quantity and quality of water available per period of time, the poverty level among the people, the ability of the people to develop resilience towards it, effects on agricultural productivity regarding both agronomic and livestock farming as well as the health of the farmers and citizens in the communities.
Steps to be taken
over the years, drought has been a major threat not only to food security but also to livelihood and welfare of millions of people in norther parts of Nigeria and it has led to mass starvation, famine and cessation of economic activity especially in areas where
agriculture is the main stay of the economy. Drought is the major cause of forced human migration and environmental refugees, deadly
conflicts over the use of dwindling natural resources, food insecurity and starvation, destruction of critical habitats and loss of biological diversity, socio- economic instability, poverty and climatic variability through reduced carbon sequestration potential. The steps taken by the government included irrigation, use of drought tolerant and early and extra early maturing varieties, reduction of post harvest crop losses, increased fisheries and micro-livestock production and strategic grain storage (Abubakar et al., 2015). However, the human aspect of drought impacts was left out and this led to poor performance of the efforts.
June 30, 2016 at 1:53 pm #11603
Sorry for not interacting with you for a while. I was on field-work in areas with limited connectivity. That is really very interesting and intense discussion happening on the issue. It does highlight the various perspectives and conceptual frameworks from which arguments are made. Therefore, it only shows that both “top-down” (State as the primary mover) and “bottom-up” (community and other non-state actors) approaches are important and a good mix of the two is ideal.
July 1, 2016 at 4:31 pm #11625
You are once again welcome!
Many thanks for your sharing.
June 30, 2016 at 3:20 pm #11606
I would like to assure you that there can be no criticism on your line of argument, as it is also one of the perspectives that is in mainstream discourse on accountability.
Firstly, I agree with you entirely that an assessment of impacts, especially on the vulnerable sections of society, is absolutely essential.The most challenging part of this assessment is developing appropriate socio-economic indicators and M&E systems. While broad parameters have been identified, the identification of local and region specific indicators and their quantification is still contended with. Communities (an important stakeholder), as pointed by you, do have to take responsibilities particularly in the context of entitlements sought by them from the State. Wamba, has also brought out in his response to you, the constraints that the vulnerable sections have over resources. They have either limited or no control over tangible (ex. financial) or intangible (ex. knowledge and skills) resources to take responsibility effectively. Being the most affected, in situations of crisis, it is in their interest to participate. There are examples of them contributing enormously in terms of their labour free of cost. On the other hand, the powerful (with exceptions) do little to help, as sustaining the unequal status quo works in their interest.
As we are aware, a lot of physical and infrastructural interventions are to be made by the government to mitigate drought/s. They could actively engage the communities and other stakeholders in these initiatives and facilitate ownership through financial support and capacity building to sustain them. In this way the State need not wait for another crisis situation to respond.
June 30, 2016 at 4:40 pm #11608
Hi Shanta Mohan,
Measuring droughts in Nigeria is a very complex and almost non existent process, because for some it is increasingly becoming a ‘normal’ way of life for some in the far northern belts of Nigeria with increased desertification. First of all, there is hardly data available to help analyse drought despite the increased availability of meteorological data available from the Nigerian Meteorological agency.
In order to improve on data collection to help measure droughts in Nigeria, there should be collaboration between ministries and agencies in this landscape. say for instance, improved collaboration and information sharing between ministry of agriculture, water resources and the meteorological agencies.
Also the states most affected by droughts can share data by ensuring that the people in the grassroots, the farmers and food commodity sellers should be included in the collection of primary data, stored and shared for analysis and use by the relevant agencies.
It is very critical for the state to ensure that ALL the people are pre-warned a and prepared in advance about the impact of drought and the practical steps to implement to mitigate the impact of droughts within their jurisdiction.
July 1, 2016 at 12:29 am #11618
SEVERE FOSSI TUEKAMParticipant
National Drought Management Policy: A Process
Step 1: Appoint a national drought management policy commission
Step 2: State or define the goals and objectives of a risk-based national drought management policy
Step 3: Seek stakeholder participation; define and resolve conflicts between key water use sectors, considering also transboundary implications
Step 4: Inventory data and financial resources available and identify groups at risk
Step 5: Prepare/write the key tenets of the national drought management policy and preparedness plans, which would include the following elements: monitoring; early warning and prediction; risk and impact assessment; and mitigation and response
Step 6: Identify research needs and fill institutional gaps
Step 7: Integrate science and policy aspects of drought management
Step 8: Publicize the national drought management policy and preparedness plans and build public awareness and consensus
Step 9: Develop educational programmes for all age and stakeholder groups
Step 10: Evaluate and revise national drought management policy and supporting preparedness plans
World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Global Water Partnership (GWP) (2014) National Drought Management Policy Guidelines: A Template for Action (D.A. Wilhite). Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP) Tools and Guidelines Series 1. WMO, Geneva, Switzerland and GWP, Stockholm, Sweden. © 2014 World Meteorological Organization and Global Water Partnership ISBN: 978-91-87823-03-9
July 3, 2016 at 9:08 pm #11651
Thank you For highlighting a very important component in this whole discourse of that of collaboration and cooperation between the various ministries and departments as well as the various stakeholders. However, in most governments the ministries work is fragmented and sectoral, often with limited and/or no sharing of information between and among them. In my opinion apart from the ministries listed by you, I would state that while dealing with life in totality, no ministry should be exempt from contributing to the knowledge base and analysis of information. The engagement of the primary stakeholders is also critical in the generation of data and information as it would not only increase the ownership of information but as contributors they will be able to be in a better position to understand the results of the information generated. This kind of cooperation and two way flow between the governments and the various actors would bring in synergy in the implementation of initiatives at various levels.
July 3, 2016 at 9:47 pm #11652
Thank you for bringing to the forefront the various steps to be followed to put together a good National Drought Management Policy. While these indeed are very important steps they are generic in nature and the nuances are subsumed. There is a large gap between policy and implementation, the intention and action. A literature review will evince that governments miss out on one or more of these steps. Advocacy plays a very important role here. Pressure needs to be exerted by communities and various stakeholders (as pointed out by others in the above discussions) on governments to not only put a comprehensive policy in place but implement it.
July 3, 2016 at 8:18 pm #11650
I agree with you entirely. it is always easier to measure those indicators that are quantifiable, such as pointed out by you. Thank you Fakunle for very astutely enumerating the important threats that drought/s bring about in society, such as famine, food insecurity, loss of livelihoods and welfare of the people and the resultant impacts it has in terms of starvation, migration, depressed sale of property, assets, labour, indebtedness and even suicides in the event of extreme hardship. However, the governments take the easy way out. Quantification is made on parameters at the macro-level to argue the losses on the nation giving little importance to the actual valuation of the sufferings and deprivations faced by people on a day-to-day basis at the grassroots level. The well-being and the quality of life of the last person is to be central to all planning and development to initiatives and interventions by state actors. However, this challenge is given little importance with the exception of efforts put forth by some civil society organisations and academics. That perhaps is the reason for the poor performance.
July 5, 2016 at 12:55 am #11685
In terms of systematic measurements of drought impact, there are measurements of rainfall and other climate variables, which helps define areas of drought through a range of terms; there are also economic and social measurements undertaken (in Australia) at a national and state level; however locally those measurements may not be as consistent across the country. It strikes me that the spatial element of drought is a good integrating factor where different & cumulative impacts could be synthesised.
A short term government intervention in response to drought was grants available to farmers, with a threshold of 70% of their income from the farm being an eligibility requirement. As other posts have highlighted ‘fair and just’ is kind of subjective. There are rafts of literature on identifying significance in impacts to ecosystems, for example the loss of river red gum trees over 100 years old is obviously past the threshold for significance; whereas the loss of some other shorter-lived species may not be interpreted as significant.
July 12, 2016 at 3:22 pm #11836
I think that first of all must be separated from the question of drought monitoring / identification with the assessment of impacts. Monitoring should encompass the whole range of evaluation techniques of the main meteorological variables is by applying specific rates or the use of raw data. It is more interesting to be applied the same methodology of drought monitoring / identification for all regions of the same country and even if it is based on drought indexes consolidated in the academic literature as SPI, SVI, VCI, SSMI, so that It can be evaluated the different stages along the consolidation of a drought event.
In my opinion for the identification and quantification of the impact of a drought event, should evaluate the losses related to agricultural production, inflation of products and services, hours of rationing in urban water supply and lives lost.
August 1, 2016 at 9:01 am #12085
Hello Shantha Mohan ,
I am very much agreed with your ideas that the measurement of impacts resulting from droughts is both complex and challenging.
However many steps are available which can be taken to generating systematic measurement of the impact of drought . In fact drought mitigation measures include a large number of actions, which can be grouped into three broad categories: supply-increase, demand reduction, and drought impact minimization. Each category affects the physical, economic and societal impacts of drought in different ways. Moreover Policies and strategies provide the framework and guidance to support the implementation of best management practices and suitable interventions. During the twentieth century, governments have typically responded to drought by providing emergency, short-term, and long-term assistance to distressed areas. In Pakistan the impact of the drought in most areas has been controlled through its massive and unique canal networks. However there are some special purpose authorities mostly under provisional government which undertake studies and research projects for the enhancement and up-gradation of the environment in their areas of jurisdiction. The Provisional & Fedral Government has various short, and long-term programmes for drought risk reduction in various regions.
August 1, 2016 at 9:31 am #12086
That is a good effort by your government. There is dire need for policy advocacy in Nigeria for the stakeholders and especially the Nigerian government to see drought as life threaten issue and to give it the necessary attention. Though over the years, our government has been found making effort to addressing it but no worthy nor sustainable solution came out of those efforts simply because there is no implemented drought policy framework that can guide them on what to do in the country. Moreover, drought issue is not dealt with as a single hazard but lump up with other environmental issues. They are shying away from the responsibility of drought reduction and rely heavily on external organizations for addressing the issues.
I think the first thing for us now is to have an implementable policy and strategies framework on the best management practices as revealed by this course and convinced the government to rise to the occasion.
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