2nd Regional Knowledge Forum on Drought and Climate Services for Food Security and Agricultural Decision Making in South and Southeast Asia
South and Southeast Asian countries are very prone to natural resource degradation due to intensive human activities and environmental changes. Moreover, producing additional food on limited land and providing access to food at the household level to ensure food security will likely continue to be major challenges in the future. There is considerable research being undertaken on agro-climatic monitoring and modeling. Lessons from such work can inform sustainable crop management decisions and provide farmers and decision-makers with alternative farming options. Similarly, a large amount of information on climate variability is available, although use of such data by decision-makers remains low. User-oriented, easily accessible, timely, and actionable scientific information in the form of advisory services can assist adaptation to environmental change. Such information can also be used to make informed decisions to limit the economic damage and social disruption caused by environmental disasters.
The SERVIR program is a joint initiative of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It is a global network of leading regional knowledge centers as well as consortium partners, dedicated to environmental management through the integration of Earth observations and geospatial technologies. The SERVIR-Mekong program, hosted by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), has operationalized the Mekong Drought and Crop Watch (MDCW) system for the Lower Mekong region in collaboration with regional and national agencies. MDCW system assists governments and the agricultural sector with drought monitoring and forecasting information for implementing short and long-term mitigation measures during and before droughts. Similarly, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), collaborating with hydro-meteorological and agricultural institutions in the Hindu Kush Himalaya through its SERVIR Hindu Kush Himalaya (SERVIR-HKH) has established the Regional Drought Monitoring and Outlook System for South Asia. The aim is to improve the capacity of national agro-meteorology and agricultural agencies to develop data products related to crop monitoring and enhance the knowledge of national scientists about the interpretation of agro-climatic data in their country contexts.
In this context, and as follow up to the first Regional Knowledge Forum on Drought held in 2018 in Kathmandu, Nepal, ADPC and ICIMOD, under the framework of SERVIR, are organizing the 2nd “Regional Knowledge Forum on Drought and Climate Services for Food Security and Agricultural Decision Making in South and Southeast Asia”. This forum will review and assess existing national practices and policies related to drought monitoring and forecasting, crop monitoring and agriculture advisory services, and cross learning relevant to countries in the lower Mekong region and the HKH region. Towards the end of the forum, regional level engagement mechanisms based on regional needs will be set up that will include the proposed Knowledge Network on Droughts in Asia and Technical Working Groups for Mekong and the HKH regions.
Deliberations at the regional forum will be divided into multiple sessions focusing on the following thematic topics:
· Drought monitoring and forecasting
· Earth observation for climate risk finance decision making
· Agriculture, land use, and crop type mapping
· Earth observation data-supported crop simulation modeling and yield forecasting
· Water resource and agricultural advisory systems
· Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC)
· International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
The forum will be organized as an online event