Bonn: Humanity is "at a crossroads" when it comes to managing drought and accelerating mitigation must be done "urgently, using every tool we can," says a new report from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
Drought in Numbers, 2022, released this week to mark Drought Day at UNCCD’s 15th Conference of Parties (COP15, 9-20 May in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire) – calls for making a full global commitment to drought preparedness and resilience in all global regions a top priority.
The report, an authoritative compendium of drought-related information and data, helps inform negotiations of one of several decisions by UNCCD’s 196 member states, to be issued May 20 at the conclusion of COP15.
"The facts and figures of this publication all point in the same direction: an upward trajectory in the duration of droughts and the severity of impacts, not only affecting human societies but also the ecological systems upon which the survival of all life depends, including that of our own species," said Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, in a press release on Thursday.
According to the report, since 2000, the number and duration of droughts has risen 29%
Moreover, from 1970-2019, droughts represent 15% of natural disasters but took the largest human toll, approximately 650,000 deaths from 1970-2019.
The new UNCCD report notes that 128 countries have expressed willingness to achieve or exceed Land Degradation Neutrality and nearly 70 countries participated in the UNCCD’s global drought initiative, which aims to shift from reactive approaches to drought to a proactive and risk-reducing approach.
Thiaw underlined the importance of promoting public awareness about desertification and drought, and letting people know the problems can be effectively tackled "through ingenuity, commitment and solidarity."
"We all must live up to our responsibility to ensure the health of present and future generations, wholeheartedly and without delay." Thiaw stated.