Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

India’s Vulnerability to Drought


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Drought

Mains level: Read the attached story

A United Nations report ‘Drought in Numbers’ has revealed that many parts of India fall under the list of regions that are vulnerable to drought globally.

What are Droughts?

  • Drought is a prolonged dry period in the natural climate cycle that can occur anywhere in the world.
  • It is a slow-onset disaster characterized by the lack of precipitation, resulting in a water shortage.

Types of Droughts

  • Meteorological drought is defined usually on the basis of the degree of dryness (in comparison to some “normal” or average amount) and the duration of the dry period.
  • Agricultural drought should be able to account for the variable susceptibility of crops during different stages of crop development, from emergence to maturity.
  • Hydrological drought is associated with the effects of periods of precipitation (including snowfall) shortfalls on surface or subsurface water supply (i.e. streamflow, reservoir and lake levels, and groundwater).
  • Socioeconomic drought is associated with the supply and demand of some economic goods with elements of meteorological, hydrological, and agricultural drought.

What is the Drought in Numbers report?

  • The Drought in Numbers report is a collection of data on the effects of droughts on our ecosystem and how they can be mitigated through efficient planning for the future.
  • The report also helps inform negotiations surrounding key decisions by the UNCCD’s 197 member parties at the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15), currently underway in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Drought, land restoration, and related aspects such as land rights, gender equality and youth empowerment are among the top considerations at COP15.

What is COP15?

  • The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) COP15 focuses on desertification, land degradation, and drought.
  • The theme for the conference is “Land. Life. Legacy: From scarcity to prosperity.”
  • The conference has brought together government representatives, private sector members, and civil society stakeholders to ensure that land continues to benefit present and future generations.

What does the report entail?

  • The number and duration of droughts around the world has increased by an alarming 29% since 2000.
  • Globally, droughts in the same period caused economic losses of approximately $124 billion.
  • Drought conditions can force up to 216 million people to migrate by 2050.
  • Other factors at play along with drought could be water scarcity, declining crop productivity, rise in sea levels, and overpopulation.
  • The report also stated that India’s GDP reduced by 2 to 5% between 1998 and 2017 due to severe droughts in the country.

Gendered impacts of drought

  • Research shows that women and girls in emerging and developing countries suffer more in terms of education levels, nutrition, health, sanitation, and safety as a result of droughts.
  • The burden of water collection also disproportionately falls on women (72%) and girls (9%).
  • The report notes that they may spend up to 40% of their caloric intake fetching water.

What are the environmental aspects?

  • The largest increase in drought losses is projected in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic regions of Europe.
  • Australia’s megadrought in 2019-2020 contributed to “megafires” resulting in one of the most extensive losses of habitat for threatened species.
  • About three billion animals were killed or displaced in the Australian wildfires.
  • Around 12 million hectares of land are lost each year due to drought and desertification.


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