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Droughts have several economic, social and environmental impacts, depending on their intensity and duration. Occurrence of droughts is a natural event and it is not specific to a region or climatic regime, and it can occur in different climatic and geographic situations. Unlike floods that have limited coverage areas, droughts usually affect vast regions, and this causes a more widespread and extensive range of impacts which last for a long time. Therefore, droughts affect a large number of population in comparison with other natural disasters. The experiences in developed and developing countries on drought management have proved that besides the level of development, the impacts and consequences of this phenomenon are deep and considerable, even with different characteristics and nature.  Undoubtedly, the occurrence of this phenomenon is one of the important obstacles in the development process of the countries. As the impacts of this event last for a long period, the countries and people who have been affected by this phenomenon are forced to suffer extensively not only during the actual drought but also after the event.

Evidently, the frequency, intensity, duration, spatial and geographical coverage of droughts will have wider dimensions in future due to climate change/variability impacts. Hence, occurrence of drought in any region, may pose global implications. The impact of drought on water and food security cannot be ignored.
There is a need for an enhanced and coordinated global movement to face and encounter the challenges of natural water-related disasters, especially droughts.  Through the systematic measures included in this proposal, a platform could be created to bring together concerted efforts of the governmental and the non-governmental organizations so that an effective and coordinated action plan for drought management can be prepared and implemented. By mobilizing political wills and resources, this new initiative can develop effective measures to predict and produce preparedness, mitigation plans and adaptation strategies at global scale.
Introducing a dedicated initiative on drought under the title of the “International Drought Initiative” (IDI) can be a starting point and driving force for this global movement. In this proposal, the objectives and framework for establishing such an initiative are presented in anticipation of further deliberations by experts and relevant stakeholders. This concept paper has been developed by incorporating the view points of the water professionals and representatives of the IHP National Committees of Afghanistan, Iran, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, and Tajikistan at a meeting held in Tehran on 27-28 July 2009.  The initiative also carries the support of UNESCO Category II centers ICHARM and RCUWM.

IDI Objectives and Targets

  • To develop the methodology to prepare and compile policies and strategies related to drought adaptation, mitigation, and management and encourage their inclusion in National action,
  • To facilitate research and compile practical strategies to minimize the impacts of drought for addressing emergency situations,
  • To define the roles of stakeholders within the context of drought,
  • To create an inclusive mechanism for the Governments, UN agencies, and NGOs that promotes drought management synergies,
  • To facilitate the creation of global drought warning systems and global drought watch,
  • To develop methodologies to assess damages and long-term impacts of drought, including environmental conflicts.

1- 2nd IDI meeting

International Seminar on Drought Management & 2nd International Drought Initiative Meeting (IDI)

Date and Time: 14 – 15 May 2013

Venue: Tehran, Iran

Type of Event:  International Drought Initiative Meeting


  • Head of Section of IHP Secretariat UNESCO HQ
  • Scientific Officer of World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
  • Acting Director of National Water Research Centre, Egypt
  • Assistant Director General of Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, Oman
  • First Specialist of Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, Oman
  • Head of Department of Ministry of Water Economy, Tajikistan
  • Head of Department of Institute for Water Resource Research and Management Serbia
  • Advisor to Director of General Institute for Water Resource Research and Management, France
  • Programme Analyst of UNDP Iraq Office, Jordan
  • Senior Advisor of Global Water Partnership (GWP) , Germany
  • Deputy Director General of International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering, Burkina Faso
  • Chief Researcher of ICHARM, Japan
  • Senior Expert of Disaster & Emergency Management
  • Turkish Prime Ministry (AFAD), Turkey
  • And several experts from the Ministry of Energy, Jihad Agriculture, RCUWM, Mahab Ghodss Consulting Eng. Co, Tousab Cons. Eng. and Iranian meteoroligal Org.

Number of participants: about 25 persons

The main objectives:

  • Address keynote speeches by representatives from international entities in the related fields of drought
  • Discuss and develop recommendations for scientific, technological, and policy approaches, to addressing drought issues.
  • Present a short report on activities and achievements of the interim secretariat of the International Drought Initiative (IDI) since its establishment
  • Discuss and review the IDI Road Map as well as investigate the ways of mutual cooperation in relevant fields

2- 1st IDI meeting

An IDI inception meeting was held in Tehran, in November 2011 hosted by the Ministry of Energy to discuss the current activities and to develop a road map for future activities during this meeting – which was considered the first IDI Executive- Strategic Council meeting – the organization chart, the composition of the committees, the way of cooperation with international entities, the budget and finally the promotion of IDI have been major parts of the discussion.

Date: 9 – 10 November 2011

Venue: Tehran – Iran

Organizers: RCUWM, MOE, UNESCO IHP Programme

Main Objective:

To further discuss and elaborate the action plan of the newly adopted Initiative (IDI) and to review new proposals for relevant drought management projects.


Appendix 2 – A brochure on IDI


This meeting will be attended by UNESCO representatives, the Directors of these initiatives from Iran (IDI), Japan (IFI), and China (ISI), and relevant Iranian entities from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Energy, Environmental Organization, Universities, etc. involved in drought management issues.


RCUWM and the water and wastewater affairs of the Ministry of Energy of I. R. Iran, held the “IDI Initiative Meeting (Drought, Sedimentation and Flood)” in Tehran, Iran, 9-10 November 2011.

33 managers, university professors, and senior experts from different Iranian organizations, active in the field of drought, along with managers and experts of the International Sediment Initiative (ISI) as well as Prof. Siegfried Demuth, Chief of Hydrology Department of UNESCO Water Sector, were present at this meeting.

The most important objectives of this meeting were:

  • Submitting a report on ISI and IFI ‘s activities and achievements
  • Submitting a report on IDI activities from the beginning till now
  • Reviewing the draft of the IDI Road map along with the manner of cooperation with active national entities in future activities and projects of IDI
  • Reviewing the level of activities of various national entities in the field of drought and its management

The second day of this meeting was held on Thursday, 10 November 2011at the Regional Center on Urban Water Management – Tehran (under the auspices of UNESCO) with the presence of 9 Iranian managers and experts and Prof Demuth. During this session, which can be considered as the IDI’s first strategic committee meeting, the road map of IDI, the organization chart and the formation of its committees, the manner of cooperation of international entities with IDI, budget, and finally the manner of introducing IDI in the world had been reviewed.

Amongst the most important points raised in the lectures and discussions in this two-day meeting, the following can be mentioned:

  • Continuation of similar meetings in the future to transfer experience and submit the fundamental solutions
  • Planning to hold an International Drought Conference
  • Increase public awareness through the media in order to make the public more familiar with drought management
  • Providing programs to help people cope with drought in various countries
  • Identifying international active entities in the field of drought to contribute to IDI
  • Contacting National Hydrological Committees of various countries for further cooperation
  • Taking benefit from the capacity of local institutions in drought-related goals of IDI
  • Defining joint projects with active entities in the drought field
  • The necessity of forming an IDI helpdesk
  • Building capacity to enable active countries in drought to exchange students
  • Introducing IDI in important international events such as the 6th World Water Forum

3- 19th Session of IHP Intergovernmental Council

Date: 5 – 9 July 2010

Venue: Paris – France

Organizers: UNESCO-IHP

Main Output:

Presenting IDI proposal and approval by the participants in the meeting


The International Drought Initiative (IDI) was approved by the 19th Intergovernmental Council of the International Hydrological Program in Paris, France, July 2010. The Regional Center on Urban Water Management – Tehran (RCUWM), under the auspices of UNESCO, was assigned as the secretariat of this initiative by the Ministry of Energy, I. R. Iran.


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 the severe impacts of this phenomenon on the water resources in the Middle East and North African (MENA) and Middle-Asian Countries, hence RCUWM, proposed the establishment of an international initiative on drought during the IHP National Committee’s meeting held in Tehran, Iran July 2009. With respect to the high importance of droughts and their 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 Islamic Republic of Iran through its UNESCO Category II Regional Centre on Urban Water Management declared its preparedness to host the IDI secretariat in close cooperation with international entities.

Worth noting that similar initiatives have been established as International Flood Initiative (IFI) and International Sediment Initiative (ISI) hosted by other UNESCO Category II Centres in Japan and China respectively.

This proposal was submitted to UNESCO and in its turn was referred to UNESCO – IHP General Conference. Subsequently, it was proposed in the 19th Session of the IHP Intergovernmental Council in July 2010 and approved by receiving the support of many member states.

Important Outcomes of the 19th IHP session:

  • The Secretariat reported on recent IHP initiatives, namely Water and Cultural Diversity, the involvement of IHP on the DESD, and the UNESCO Strategy on Climate Change. It reported, in particular, on two proposed initiatives requiring a decision from the Council for their creation: the International Drought Initiative (IDI) and the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Guidelines on the River Basin Level Initiative. Several Member States, including Brazil, Oman, Mexico, Senegal, Sudan, Pakistan, Philippines, UAE, and the USA expressed strong support for the establishment of the IDI and the IWRM Guidelines on the River Basin Level Initiative.
  • The proposal for the establishment of IDI received strong support from the Council, with many delegates highlighting the importance of droughts. The delegate of the United States of America welcomed the initiative and suggested that the Secretariat work, for the remainder of IHP-VII, to incorporate aspects of the IDI within existing initiatives, such as G-WADI, HELP, and FRIEND, with a view to establishing IDI within the framework of IHP-VIII. The delegates of the Netherlands, Germany, and Brazil strongly endorsed the proposal by the United States of America and highlighted the need to introduce a sunset clause and consider the financial implications of, any new initiative. The Islamic Republic of Iran thanked the delegates for their support of the Initiative and indicated that such support would further motivate Iran to work towards improved international cooperation on drought issues.
  • The Council also took note that WMO’s Integrated Drought Management project could potentially contribute to the International Drought Initiative (IDI).

4-IHP National Committee’s Meeting


  • Regional Centre on Urban Water Management-Tehran
  • Iranian National Committee for IHP
  • Iranian National Commission for UNESCO
  • UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office

1- The 8th Asian G-WADI and 2nd IDI Expert Group Meetings

Date and time: 10 – 12 December 2018

Venue: Mashhad, Iran


  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • Regional Centre on Urban Water Management-Tehran (RCUWM)
  • Ministry of Energy, I.R. of Iran
  • International Drought Initiative (IDI)
  • Global Network on Water and Development Information for Arid Lands (G-WADI)
  • Khorasan Razavi Regional Water Authority

Foreign participants:

  • Afghanistan, China, Japan, Mongolia, Oman, Slovenia, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

  Number of participants

  • 100 persons

The main objectives

  • Increase regional cooperation for sustainable development of arid and semi-arid zones
  • Sharing national/regional experiences in groundwater management and finding solutions for sustainable groundwater harvest/extraction
  • Sharing knowledge on adaptation to water scarcity; strategies and approaches
  • To further involve international organizations including FAO, WMO, etc. in IDI projects and work plan;
  • Establish IDI Advisory and Management Committee;
  • Investigating potential projects and joint research activities;
  • Sharing international/regional and national experiences on drought issues to come up with proposals for future work in the region.



  • IDI Advisory/Management Committee(s), including representatives from universities, researchers, practitioners, decision-makers and experts of relevant international entities and UN agencies should be formed.
  • Joint proposals on drought management issues could be defined and developed by IDI members to be delivered to UNCCD for fund raising.
  • Now casting, forecasting, and monitoring droughts are amongst the specific activities IDI should accommodate.
  • Public awareness in concern with water scarcity issues should receive high attention.
  • IDI should also focus on training journalists on different water scarcity issues (water and media).
  • FAO, WMO, UNCCD, IAHS, etc. could be key players and co-partners of this initiative working together, facilitating IDI activities.
  • Assuring synergy among relevant initiatives including IDI, IFI, ISI, FRIEND, HELP, etc. was recommended.
  • Annual IDI expert group meeting was suggested to be held regularly.
  • IDI will hold an international conference specifically on droughts.
  • Taking appropriate measures for IDI fundraising.
  • Expansion continuation of the G-WADI network
  • Compiling the successful studies from the Asian GWADI Pilot study areas in the form of a volume

2- The 6th Asian G-WADI and 1st IDI Expert Group Meeting

Date and time: 13 – 16 June 2015

Venue: Tehran and Isfahan, Iran


  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • Regional Centre on Urban Water Management-Tehran (RCUWM)
  • Ministry of Energy, I.R. of Iran
  • International Drought Initiative (IDI)
  • Global Network on Water and Development Information for Arid Lands (G-WADI)

Foreign participants:

  • USA, Japan, Thailand, Jakarta, South Korea, India, Australia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

  Number of participants

  • 200 persons

The main objectives

  • To develop synergies between the two programmes of UNESCO, namely the International Drought Initiative (IDI) and UNESCO IHP Programme on Water and Development Information for Arid Lands–A Global Network (G-WADI)
  • To develop activities within the framework of the IHP VIII (2014-2021) ‘Water Security: Responses to Local, Regional and Global Challenges’
  • To present advances in groundwater management and new tools and strategy for coping with droughts
  • To improve the national policies for groundwater and drought management in the region as well as in Iran towards water security for the growing population in the present and future


  1. Sharing national/regional experiences in groundwater management and finding solutions for sustainable groundwater harvest/extraction;
  2. Risk reduction in finding appropriate solutions for the challenge of water scarcity in arid and semi-arid countries, particularly Iran; leading to reduced monetary losses and social impacts;
  3. Providing information on current UNESCO-IHP programmes in relation to groundwater management and water management in arid zones (G-WADI);
  4. Networking among the groundwater institutions and specialists with regional water policy-making authorities
  5. Sharing international/regional and national experience on drought issues to come up with proposals for future work in the region.
  6. Fostering links with international existing drought networks and sharing best practices on drought monitoring and forecasting.

The International Drought Initiative (IDI)

proposed by Iran has been approved at the 19th Session of the Intergovernmental Council in Paris, July 2010. The Regional Centre on Urban Water Management (RCUWM) in Tehran hosts the Secretariat. IDI aims at providing a platform for networking and dissemination of knowledge and information between international entities that are active working on droughts. This initiative will collaborate with, UNESCO category II centers and water chairs, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the World Water Council (WWC), the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) and Global Water Partnership (GWP). The initiative is open to other related entities interested in joining.

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The International Drought Initiative (IDI)

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The Regional Centre on Urban Water Management (RCUWM- Tehran) under the auspices of UNESCO hosts the Secretariat of IDI since 2010.


  • Address: 2nd Floor, No 34, Janbazan Blvd, South Sheikh Bahaei St. (Azadegan St.), Tehran 1439955667, Iran
  • Phone: +98 (21) – 88229156 – 9404
  • Email: info [at]
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