Drought is a recurrent feature of countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, which requires careful management and mitigation in order to forestall costly damage to the economy, population, and environment. It is a complex phenomenon with greatly varying impacts depending not only on the magnitude, timing, duration, and frequency of precipitation deficits, but also on the differing responses of various soils, plants, and animals to water stress. If governments and communities do not take steps to prepare for and mitigate the effects of drought, damage will be far greater than necessary, and responses to food insecurity and other adverse effects upon the poorest segment of the population will be delayed and possibly inappropriate. Such was the situation during a severe, prolonged drought that took hold in Central Asia and the Caucasus in 2000-01. In the aftermath of the drought, governments and aid organizations, seeking to avoid the significant costs incurred during 2000-01, have expressed a desire to improve drought management and mitigation. There is an opportunity and a need for international organizations including the World Bank to assist them in this endeavor.
In order to better understand the impacts of drought and needs and capabilities in its management and mitigation, the Canadian International Development Agency, under the Canada Climate Change Development Fund, supported research and analysis by World Bank. This effort resulted in an initial study, Drought Management and Mitigation Assessment for Central Asia and the Caucasus, and a supporting compilation, Drought Management and Mitigation Assessment for Central Asia and the Caucasus: Regional and Country Profiles and Strategies. These are available below.
A Briefing Note on the Financial and Planning Implications of the Study is also available.
The initial study that produced Drought Management and Mitigation Assessment for Central Asia and the Caucasus in 2005 arrived at tentative strategies for the countries and sub-regions of Central Asia and the Caucasus. The Drought Management and Mitigation Assessment for Central Asia and the Caucasus was disseminated in July to September of 2005. Representatives of line ministries and other stakeholders who responded to the report were generally supportive of its approach and conclusions. Many requested further development of the country and region strategies outlined in the annexes of the document and suggested further avenues of research and cooperation.
In order to facilitate a more in-depth examination of exposure, vulnerability, and capacity in drought management and mitigation in Central Asia and the Caucasus, a team of national and international consultants in late 2005 and the first half of 2006 conducted (for selected countries) Rural Stakeholder Assessments to determine needs and capabilities of rural communities in participatory drought management and mitigation. In parallel, they carried out Regional Vulnerability and Capacity Assessments to fill gaps in data. In Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan, the results of the Rural Stakeholder Assessments and Regional Vulnerability and Capacity Assessments were integrated into Draft National Drought Plans. Selected national outputs of this work were translated into English and are available here.
The World Bank Team synthesized the additional data and input obtained during the second phase of work, as well as additional data collected during the course of missions, into World Bank Sub-regional and Country Drought Profiles and Strategies. The foregoing outputs were circulated among the country stakeholders and then presented in regional conferences “Strengthening Drought Management and Mitigation in the Caucasus” (Tbilisi, Georgia, 13-14 July 2006) and “Drought Management and Mitigation in Central Asia” (Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 17-18 July 2006). Conference reports and presentations of the World Bank team are available below:
The comments and feedback obtained during the dissemination process have been compiled into Drought Management and Mitigation Assessment for Central Asia and the Caucasus: Regional and Country Profiles and Strategies (available above). Staff of World Bank Resident Missions and ECSSD, CIDA representatives, and national stakeholders discussed the implementation of the strategies in videoconferences, “Mainstreaming Drought Management and Mitigation,” which were held for the Caucasus and Central Asia on 28 November 2006 and 29 November 2006, respectively. The presentations that began the conferences are provided below:
World Bank Task Force