South-East Asia is regularly hit by droughts. Ready for the Dry Years offers a clear analysis of this subject, assessing prospects for the decades ahead and highlighting the principal risks. Though starting slowly, droughts can have devastating cumulative impacts – striking hardest at the poor and heightening inequality, as well as degrading land and increasing the prospects of conflict. The study shows that there will be many more dry years ahead, and the area affected by drought is likely to shift and expand.
The study identifies actions that ASEAN member States can individually and collectively undertake to mitigate the impacts of drought. It proposes three priority areas of intervention for ESCAP and ASEAN.
The first is to strengthen drought risk assessment and early warning services, for example, by sharing data from space-based technologies. The second is to foster risk financing instruments that can insure communities against slow-onset droughts. The third is to enhance people’s capacities to adapt to drought, thereby reducing the potential for conflict. It argues that many timely steps taken now can contribute towards protecting the poorest communities and fostering more peaceful societies.
The study was jointly produced by ESCAP and ASEAN as part of their close collaboration on disaster risk reduction under the ASEAN-UN Joint Strategic Plan of Action on Disaster Management. The ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) was involved in the preparation of the report – from its design through its finalization. The study was launched at the thirty-fourth meeting of ACDM in Mandalay, Myanmar in April 2019.