Drought: Understanding and reducing vulnerability through monitoring and early warning systems. Report of the DrIVER workshop, 17 March 2015.

Collins, K.; Hannaford, J.; Haines, S.; Bachmair, S.; Crossman, N.; Stephens, L. and Svoboda, M. (2016). Drought: Understanding and reducing vulnerability through monitoring and early warning systems. Report of the DrIVER workshop, 17 March 2015. DrIVER project report, Wallingford, UK.

Abstract

As part of the Belmont Forum funded international DRIVER research project on linking indicators to impacts to improve drought monitoring and early warning systems (MEWs), a stakeholder workshop was held on 17th March 2015 in Wallingford, UK.

The workshop was attended by representatives of various UK organisations with an interest in drought and MEWs and DRIVER researchers from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UK), Open University (UK), University of Freiburg (Germany), National Drought Mitigation Center (USA) and CSIRO (Australia).

The aims of the workshop were to introduce participants to the DRIVER project and recent RCUK drought projects; engage with stakeholders’ experiences, understandings and needs in relation to droughts; and identify needs for future MEWs.

The design of the workshop was based on a commitment to social learning. It comprised a mix of presentations and interactive sessions using innovative techniques to develop collective insights, enabling participants to learn from others and contribute their experiences and ideas and concerns in relation to drought and MEWs.

Themes emerging findings from the workshop were wide-ranging, but point to a range of issues, concerns and suggestions for improving drought management and MEWs centred on: recognition of different types of drought; uncertainties and risks relating to indicators; forecasting; impacts; politics of drought; public communication; role of stakeholders; and resilience strategies.

The workshop suggests different ways of thinking and acting are required about drought and MEWs in particular. The discussions and presentations also suggest the complexity of droughts requires a more systemic understanding of drought policy, processes and practices in order to determine the role of MEWs and how these can be improved by linking indicators to impacts.

The output of the workshop constitute a key source for informing and shaping ongoing DRIVER research activities and other events convened by RCUK drought research projects.

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