The occurrence of droughts in Latin America and the Caribbean has a large impact on societies and local economies, causing long-term consequences for countries and their population (IDB, 2000). 

Climate change scenarios indicate further decrease in precipitation in those regions already prone to droughts, such as northeast Brazil and central-northern Chile, but also threatens to affect regions that have less developed drought response and mitigation strategies (IPCC, 2013).

This drives the need to count with effective management of drought risk, covering vulnerability assessment, drought monitoring and early warning, as well as institutional and policy components (Baetghen, 2010). 

Recognizing the importance of international collaboration to the development of effective drought information tools and the critical need for these tools in an increasingly water-stressed world, these expert meeting aims at creating a community of practice to support the development and use of drought information tools. This community will be embedded in regional networks, such as Aridas-LAC, the Center for Natural Resources and Development (CNRD) and the UNESCO Global Network for Water and Development Information for Arid Lands (G-WADI), in close collaboration with the Columbia University Global Centers.   

The Drought Information Community of Practice encourages dialogue and collaboration as a means to inform and accelerate the development and use of effective drought information tools. The community of practice allows all members of the group to share information and experiences with each other, providing members with an opportunity to exchange knowledge. It also creates an agenda to support students and researchers to identify new topics of research, connecting individuals from around the world and allowing them to work together on topics of similar interest.

This was the meeting of the Community of Practice organized around an expert symposium on 24 to 26 November of 2014, followed by a two-day training course for water related stakeholders.  A broad call for abstracts was launched for experts and scientists on topics related to droughts in semi arid regions (presentations and posters), with the aim to bring different networks together (G-WADI, U. Columbia Global Centers, Aridas-LAC, CNRD network).

MWAR LAC - Managing Water Resources in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions of Latin America and the Caribbean