The Regional Centre on Urban Water Management (RCUWM) as a category II Centre under the auspices of UNESCO recognized the high importance of international cooperation on drought management issues due to severe impacts of this phenomenon on the water resources in the Middle East and North African (MENA) and Central-Asia Countries. Hence RCUWM proposed to establish the International Drought Initiative (IDI) during the IHP National Committee’s meeting held in Tehran, Iran, during July 2009. With respect to the high importance of droughts and its negative impacts on human life especially in arid and semi-arid regions, it was decided to launch a global initiative under the umbrella of UNESCO’s IHP programme. The 19th Session of IHP Intergovernmental Council in July 2010 approved the establishment of IDI and received the support of many Member States. Iran through its UNESCO category II Regional Centre on Urban Water Management (RCUWM) declared its preparedness to host the IDI secretariat. Similar initiatives have been established such as the International Flood Initiative (IFI) and the International Sediment Initiative (ISI) which are hosted by other UNESCO category II Centers in Japan and China respectively. An IDI inception meeting was held in Tehran, in November 2011 hosted by the Ministry of Energy to discuss the current activities and develop a road map for its future action plan. Structure of the initiative, the composition of its committees, the way of cooperation with international entities, the budget and finally the promotion of IDI has been major parts of these discussions. This meeting was attended by national and international drought related entities. In addition, UNESCO-IHP together with the IDI interim secretariat (RCUWM) supported by the Iranian Ministry of Energy and the Iranian IHP National Committee in collaboration with a number of UN Agencies, International and Regional Organizations and key national agencies, jointly motivated the scientific expertise and knowledge and facilitated the exchange of experience among countries through the joint International Seminar on “Drought Management” and “2nd International Drought Initiative Meeting” held in the convention halls of the Ministry of Energy, Tehran, Iran on 14 to 15 May 2013. Holding this event by the cited entities was considered as one of the most important joint activities in the field of drought in 2013 within the framework of the International year of Water Cooperation.
The IDI is based on the following principles:
- Creating a competent environment for following relevant drought issues at national, regional and international levels.
- facilitating the establishment, expansion and continuous relation between active organizations at the national, regional and international levels while taking benefit and sharing information on existing drought knowledge at these organizations.
- Training and promoting scientific and professional basics of drought management.
- Creating a drought integrated data base.
- The role of UN and non-governmental affiliated entities as well as developed and developing countries should be taken into consideration when compiling and implementing this initiative, therefore eﬀective cooperation with such entities gains a high importance in the success to be achieved.
The overall aim of the initiative is to develop and strengthen capacity at the regional and international levels to better understand and respond to droughts by taking into account socioeconomic, cultural, educational and environmental aspects. The initiative will share experiences and best practices to deal with droughts for a better management of water resources in line with sustainable development approaches and
for water, energy and food security. The specific objectives are as follows:
- Serving as a knowledge hub for networking between international entities active in drought issues.
- Surveying the current situation of drought management in interested countries including aspects such as: policy making, structural and non-structural plans.
- Collecting information on drought related plans and measures from international and regional governmental/non-governmental entities.
- Strengthening the Global Drought Preparedness Network (GDPN).
- Helping aﬀected countries especially developing and less developed countries to prepare and compile strategic and practical drought management plans.
- Developing and building capacities in drought monitoring, forecasting, assessments, mitigation, adaptation, preparedness techniques and methodologies.
- Strengthening public participation and promoting the level of awareness with the aim of increasing the initiative eﬀectiveness.
- Promoting and developing organizational cooperation at the national and international levels with the aim of increasing capacities and avoiding duplication of activities.
The International Drought Initiative (IDI) is consisted of the Advisory Committee (IDI-AC), and the IDI Secretariat.
In order to provide eﬀective coordination at the international level, an IDI Advisory Committee (IDI-AC) has been established, which is comprised of elected representatives of the IHP InterGovernmental Council (through the IHP Bureau), the WMO Commission for Hydrology (Chy), UNU and ISDR. The Advisory Committee is open to membership of three other academic or research organizations which will be member of the IDI-AC for a period of four years. The Advisory
Committees duties are:
- Holding ad-hoc meetings and reviewing the activities and outcomes of the IDI participating entities.
- Compiling the bylaw and required regulations for selecting members among persons, companies, organizations and qualifed educational and research institutes.
- Directing all IDI activities toward its mission.
- Identifying the defciencies and future needs in regard to achieving IDI objectives.
- Providing recommendations to active IDI entities and to IDI secretariat for joint programming and resource mobilization.
The secretariat of IDI is located at the Regional Centre on Urban Water Management (RCUWM) in Tehran, Iran. The International Drought Initiative (IDI) secretariat in close cooperation with IHP secretariat will implement the IDI roadmap. The IDI and IHP Secretariats’ duties are as follows:
- Compiling IDI activities and making decision on annual plans as well as recommending extraordinary meetings if required.
- Coordinating and providing relevant facilities for regular meetings, seminars and sessions.
- Anticipating and estimating the annual budget and fnancial requirements.
- Registering and documenting correspondences and minutes of various meetings and received letters.
- Providing cooperation with relevant entities, governmental, and non-governmental organizations.
- Publishing, distributing and notifying issued directives to all relevant partners.
- Launching, updating and monitoring the IDI website presenting drought relevant subjects.
- Securing the alignment of IDI with the Strategic Plan of the IHP VIII Phase (2014-2021).
- Inviting relevant organizations, authorities and entities to visit IDI secretariat to exchange ideas and using existing facilities to cooperate and consult in the relevant fields.