An estimated 55 million people globally are directly affected by droughts every year, and up to 700 million people will be at risk of being displaced as a result of drought by 2030, according to the World Health Organization. On its second day, the 21st session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) turned its attention to drought. The Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) on effective policy and implementation measures for addressing drought under the UNCCD presented its progress report setting out possible options to address drought going forward, including possibly setting a global target on drought. The various options presented in the report will be considered by the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the UNCCD in 2024.
Parties also discussed a synthesis and preliminary analysis of Strategic Objective 3 on mitigating, adapting to, and managing the effects of drought to enhance resilience, based on hazard, exposure and vulnerability indicators. The report includes recommendations for the COP to consider.
In addition, the CRIC heard a presentation by the Secretariat on the preliminary analysis of Strategic Objective 2 on improving the living conditions of affected populations, based on indicators that looked at trends in populations living below the relative poverty line and/or income inequality in affected areas, trends in access to safe drinking water in affected areas, and trends in the proportion of the population exposed to land degradation disaggregated by sex.
Sand and dust storms and drought were also discussed within the context of a summary of activities undertaken by the Secretariat and the Global Mechanism on the implementation of policy frameworks and thematic issues. Many delegates said that with the UN General Assembly’s resolution declaring 12 July International Day of Combating Sand and Dust Storms, the issue is gaining the attention and importance at the international level that it deserves.