UNU-EHS experts appointed Lead Authors for UNDRR GAR Special Report on Drought

  • 2020•03•19     Bonn, Germany

    Photo: Unsplash / redcharlie

    UNU-EHS scientists Dr. Michael Hagenlocher and Isabel Meza have recently been appointed Lead Authors (LAs) for the UN Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) Special Report on Droughts (GAR SR Drought) that is published by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

    The GAR is the flagship report of the United Nations on worldwide efforts to reduce disaster risk. It is published biennially, and is the product of the contributions of nations and public and private disaster risk-related science and research. The upcoming GAR SR Drought, which will be published in summer 2021, will explicitly build on results of earlier assessments, studies and reports (including the GAR 2011 and 2019) as starting points, assessing and synthesizing those studies and experiences. At the same time, it will go further by embracing the described new and emergent risks, the multiple interconnections that influence systemic risks, and the opportunities for the international community, nations and communities to thrive in an increasingly uncertain environment. Under these conditions, efforts turned to focusing on strengthening resilience and building up the social, cultural, economic, ecological and behavioural assets and capacity of a community in order to leverage more traditional risk assessments, thresholds, innovation and technology.

    In close collaboration with the UNDRR secretariat, Coordinating Lead Authors (CLAs), other Lead Authors (LAs), and contributing authors, Hagenlocher and Meza will contribute to the report with their specific expertise on understanding, characterizing and assessing drought risk.

    From 16-17 March 2020, both participated in the first virtual Author’s meeting where the outline, content and structure of the Zero Order Draft of the report, including case studies and key messages, was discussed and developed. Two additional LA meetings are foreseen in 2020 before the Second Order Draft is submitted to the GAR Advisory Board and the UNDRR secretariat.

    UNDRR has recognized drought as an important issue because it is among the most damaging and least understood of all so-called “natural” hazards. Because the impacts of drought are less direct and immediately visible than the impacts of events such as hurricanes and floods, drought has, for a long time, received less attention in disaster research and risk reduction. Drought can have long-lasting and cascading impacts across multiple spatial scales. In addition, while agriculture is typically the first and most affected sector, many other sectors, including water supply for different uses, energy production, tourism and recreation, transportation, and many more, suffer from the impacts of drought. This report will take a problem-oriented multi-method and contextual approach to the issue of drought, with the ultimate goal to derive critical lessons to strengthen resilience.

    Much of Hagenlocher’s and Meza’s work at UNU-EHS centers around understanding and assessing the dynamics of risk associated with natural hazards, notably floods and droughts, and identifying options for risk reduction and adaptation in the context of global change.

    If you would like to read more about their recent work on drought risk, you can find below their two most recent publications on the topic.

    • Hagenlocher, Michael, Meza, Isabel, Anderson, Carl C., Min, Annika, Renaud, Fabrice G., Walz, Yvonne, Siebert, Stefan and Sebesvari, Zita, (2019). Drought vulnerability and risk assessments: state of the art, persistent gaps, and research agenda. Environmental Research Letters, 1-23. http://collections.unu.edu/view/UNU:7355
    • Meza, Isabel, Siebert, Stefan, Doell, Petra, Kusche, Juergen, Herbert, Claudia, Eyshi Rezaei, Ehsan, Nouri, Hamideh, Gerdener, Helena, Popat, Eklavyya, Frischen, Janna, Naumann, Gustavo, Vogt, Juergen V., Walz, Yvonne, Sebesvari, Zita and Hagenlocher, Michael, (2020). Global-scale drought risk assessment for agricultural systems. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS), 20 695-712. https://collections.unu.edu/view/UNU:7605

    Both authors also contribute to the ongoing GlobeDrought webinar series on droughts, drought impacts and drought risk. More information on the webinar series is available here. GlobeDrought is a 3-year project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research through its Global Resource Water (GRoW) funding initiative. More information on the GlobeDrought project is available here.