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GAR Special Report on Drought 2021


The risks that drought poses to communities, ecosystems and economies are much larger and more profound than can be measured. The impacts are borne disproportionately by the most vulnerable people. However, as understanding of the globally networked aspects of drought and other complex risks improves, the changes required to reduce risk and improve the experience of drought become possible. This Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) Special Report on Drought 2021 aims to take a clear step forward in building that awareness.

Drought risk is complex and has broad systemic impacts on societies, economies and the environment – all of which underpin future sustainable development. As outlined in the 2019 GAR, traditional and existing approaches are consistently overwhelmed by the systemic nature of drought risk, and so there is a need for new ways to tackle drought based on a systems and learning approach. While drought has always been a threat, climate change projections suggest many areas will experience droughts that are more frequent and more severe. This makes key issues such as how well society is coping with drought and the availability of governance, tools and approaches to reduce the cost of drought all the more pressing.

This report is structured to build broad awareness of the nature of drought and the experience across the world of living with drought. It also builds the case for a new approach to drought risk management. The new approach is based on effective models of governance where communities actively learn and adapt, while seeking to prevent and mitigate drought risk, and adapt and respond to drought. These processes build capacity across social, financial, institutional and scientific communities to recognize the complex nature of drought risk, devise risk reduction approaches and build the capacity to adapt as drought risk changes. This report also identifies enabling conditions that can transform drought management at local, national and global levels.


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