Drought risk reduction in ASEAN countries: Current status, issues and way forward

Commissioned Report

The purpose of this report is to take a stock of the existing situation in terms of drought risk reduction in ASEAN countries. The information presented in this report is primarily drawn from the interviews and field visits conducted by the JICA team and is partially strengthened from the literature. Overall, ASEAN countries show considerable vulnerability to drought. The accurate comparison of the importance of drought compared to other natural hazards such as floods, storms, landslides has not been possible due to limited reportage of drought impacts related data. In general, ASEAN countries are making progress in addressing drought risk reduction.One significant aspect of this progress is in terms of putting in place appropriate institutional mechanisms which form the basis for promoting various risk mitigation, preparedness, and relief interventions.In terms of the best practices for drought risk reduction, it is evident that the ASEAN countries have been making steady progress by introducing various drought risk reduction practices that can result either in reduction of the drought intensity (i.e. reduce the degree of reduction in water availability) or drought impacts (i.e. for example reduced damage to crops through changes in crop varieties, cropping or efficient agronomic practices). In terms of hazard and vulnerability assessments, some progress has been made in terms of national level and prefectural level drought hazard maps in few countries. It is evident that hazard assessments can be improved both in terms of their scale, i.e. reaching down to the prefecture and village levels and in terms of their use in actual decision making in areas of policy targeting in general and water resource management and agriculture production planning in specific.Insufficient development of water resources assessment including water budgeting on demand and supply side and integrating this information into national and sectoral planning and policies needs urgent attention. ASEAN region needs to show progress in areas of recognizing the drought as a major threat to the region, putting in place robust drought monitoring and evaluation frameworks at the national and sub-national level and integrating the drought risk assessments at the programmatic and project levels so that the development interventions do not exacerbate the drought risks. Despite its potential, integrated natural resource management methods such as integrated watershed management, integrated water resource management are still at a very nascent stage that need immediate attention for the long-term drought risk reduction in the region.