Sharm El-Sheikh, Nov 8 (IANS) At the initiative of Senegalese President Macky Sall and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, leaders from over 25 countries and 20 organisations launched the International Drought Resilience Alliance to accelerate action and help countries to be better prepared for future droughts.
In the declaration made on the sidelines of the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference that opened on Monday, leaders from all sectors pledged to drive change in how the world tackles the growing drought risks: moving from emergency response to building long-term resilience, an official statement issued by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) said.
Sanchez and Sall rallied world leaders to create the Alliance as “a specific solution for the UN” to the impacts of climate change.
In a joint communication, the two leaders declared: “We are only as resilient to climate change as our land is. Building resilience to drought disasters is the way to secure the gains we make on each sustainable development goal, particularly for the most vulnerable people.
“The mission of the alliance is to give political impetus to make the land’s resilience to drought and climate change a reality by 2030.”
Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, said: “We are in a race for drought resilience and it’s a race we can win. Drought is a natural hazard but does not have to lead to human disaster. The solutions are available, and we can create a drought resilient world by increasing our ambition, harnessing the political will, and joining forces to act together.”
According to the statement, the Alliance will be bolstered by new political commitments, including a 5 million euro seed fund announced by Spain and catalyse a process to mobilize more resources for this agenda, and a commitment made by Kenyan President William Ruto to plant 5 billion trees in the next 5 years, and 10 billion trees in 10 years.
The Alliance called on leaders to make drought resilience a priority in national development and cooperation, including deepening the engagement of stakeholders, such as the private sector, in work on drought resilience.
Among the key objectives is promoting the consolidation of regional initiatives to fast-track sharing of innovation, technology transfer and mobilisation of resources.
The Alliance will also collaborate with other platforms, including the initiative launched by the UnN Secretary-General and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to achieve universal coverage of early warning systems and regional initiatives to reap the maximum benefits of working together on drought resilience.