UN conference lays foundations for practical policies on drought

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A farmer in the drought-affected area watering plants

Foundations for practical and proactive national drought policies have been laid following a weeklong meeting in Geneva attended by senior government officials, scientists and United Nations officials. 

That's what Claire Nullis, Spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) told reporters on Friday as the high-level conference was winding up.

She said that government ministers and UN agencies were finalizing declarations on what needs to be done to increase resilience to drought, which one minister describes as a cancer.

"What's been happening this week is there have been a lot of scientific discussions which have demonstrated that we do indeed have the scientific tools. We have better prediction now. We have better monitoring tools and now this needs to be translated into practical policy measures. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered a video message and he said prevention must be our priority and that's what we are trying to do. The meeting, by consensus issued declaration. It's a non-binding declaration. It encourages governments to develop and implement drought management policies." (34")

On Thursday three United Nations entities called for a more proactive approach to deal with drought instead of passive crisis management.

The call was made in a joint statement issued by WMO, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1'21"

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