Single Course

Drought and Food Security Management

Environmental, Urban & Regional Planning

Course Summary:

Governments, aid organizations and people affected by drought are struggling to mitigate the resulting impact on both water resources and crops. In this paper we focus on improved decision-support for agricultural droughts that threaten the livelihoods of people living in vulnerable regions. We claim that new strategic partnerships are required to link scientific findings to actual user requirements of governments and aid organizations and to turn data streams into useful information for decision-support. Furthermore, we list several promising approaches, ranging from the integration of satellite-derived soil moisture measurements that link atmospheric processes to anomalies on the land surface to improved long-range weather predictions and mobile applications. The latter can be used for the dissemination of relevant information, but also for validating satellite-derived datasets or for collecting additional information about socio-economic vulnerabilities. Ideally, the consequence is a translation of early warning into local action, strengthening disaster preparedness and avoiding the need for large-scale external support.

Course Objectives:

  • To impart practical knowledge and enhance general understanding about 
  • The nature of rural livelihoods and the causes of their insecurity in the ASALs
  • Food security situation in the ASALs Drought occurrences and
  • Drought related disasters and their effects on people’s livelihoods and the general development. 
  • To impart technical skills and practical methods to assess food security and drought situation in the ASALs
  • To create a clear understanding and enhance the appreciation of the link and relevance of the existing policy framework to food security and drought
  • To review and assess the effectiveness of the existing strategies and intervention programmes to cope with food insecurity/ shortages and mitigate the effects of drought related disasters.

Course Outline

Food systems and food security 

  • Food security 
  • Food system 
  • Food chain 

Climate and climate change 

  • Climate and its measurement 
  • Climate system 
  • Climate variability and climate change 
  • Effects of global warming on the climate system 
  • Acclimatization, adaptation and mitigation 

Climate change and food security 

  • Agriculture, climate and food security 
  • Food security and climate change: a conceptual framework 
  • Vulnerability to climate change 
  • Livelihood vulnerability

Living with uncertainty and managing new risks 

  • Improving the quality of information and its use 
  • Promoting insurance schemes for climate change risk 
  • Developing national risk management policies 

Strengthening resilience and managing change 

  • Adjusting consumption and responding to new health risks 
  • Intensifying food and agricultural production 
  • Creating an eco-friendly energy economy 
  • Adapting agriculture-based livelihood strategies 

Reducing emissions 

  • Reducing agricultural and forestry emissions of carbon dioxide 
  • Reducing agricultural emissions of methane and nitrous oxide 

Sequestering carbon 

  • Reforestation and afforestation 
  • Rehabilitating degraded grasslands 
  • Rehabilitating cultivated soils 
  • Promoting conservation agriculture