Water & Development Information for Arid Lands: A Global Network - Latin America and the Caribbean
Agua y Desarrollo de la Información en las Zonas Áridas: Una Red Global - América Latina y el Caribe

International Expert Symposium

“Building a Community of Practice on Drought Management Tools” held at the FAO auditorium in Santiago de Chile between 19 and 21 November, 2014.

The event is organised by UNESCO and supported by the Centre for Natural Resources and Development (CRND), Climate Services Partnership, International Centre for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM), and the Government of Flanders (Belgium).

Building a community of practice to develop and allow the usage of drought management tools across the regional and worldwide is one of the principal goals of the International Expert Symposium “Building a Community of Practice on Drought Management Tools”. The event runs from Wednesday 19 to Friday 21 November, at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) auditorium, Av. Dag Hammarskjöld 3241, Vitacura, Santiago.

The symposium is being organised by UNESCO, seeking to develop project proposals and solutions, in view of the urgent need for international collaboration to fend off global water stress. This is a vitally important issue at the regional level, as drought causes long term consequences for societies and the local economy in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In light of this scenario, a community of practice will be formed for the usage and development of drought management tools. The group will be embedded in existing 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 Centres.

UNESCO Hydrological Systems and Global Change programme specialist Koen Verbist explains how the group will work: “the community with permit interchange of knowledge and will aid students and researchers in identifying new research topics, connecting them with their peers around the world and thus opening the way for collaboration in areas of shared interest”.

Monitoring and action

At the Santiago event, experts will share information on advances in the field, and shall discuss gaps in available knowledge. They will exchange indices, drought monitoring techniques, and best practices in data management for early warning of these phenomena. They will also develop integrated approaches oriented towards effective drought management, taking into account regional characteristics such as climate, hydrology, the cryosphere, and water storage and demand.

The principal goals of the symposium will be the generation of a renewed dialogue between science, policy, the public and private sectors regarding the state of the art for drought monitoring and management in Latin America and the Caribbean. The event is also hoped to help gage real demand for research and action in the field of drought management. Additionally, working groups will be formed and regional collaborative project proposals will be developed, and by the close of the event the participating specialists and organizations will have formed a “Declaration on Drought Management”.

Invited experts

  • Walter Baetghen, International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Columbia University
  • Upmanu Lall, Columbia University, United States
  • Michael Hayes, Nebraska Drought Mitigation Center, United States
  • Amir AghaKouchak, Centre for Hydrometereology & Remote Sensing, UCIrvine, Estados Unidos
  • Henny Van Laanen, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  • Eduardo Martins, Fundación Cearenense de Meteorología y Recursos Hídricos (FUNCEME), Brazil
  • Justin Sheffield, Princeton University, United States
  • Paulo Barbosa, Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES)
  • Antonio Rocha Magalhaes, Centre for Strategic Studies and Management, Brazil
  • Abdou Ali, AGRHYMET Regional Centre, Niger

More information

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International Hydrological Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean
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The GWADI Technical Secretariats for LAC is suported by the Water Center for Arid an semi-Arid Zones in Latin America and the Caribbean - CAZALAC