Drought In Numbers, 2022: Desertification: ‘Droughts reduced India’s GDP by up to 5% in 20 years’

What is the News?

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification(UNCCD) has released the Drought In Numbers, 2022 Report to mark Drought Day.

What are the key findings of the report?
Global findings

Droughts represent 15% of natural disasters but took the largest human toll, approximately 650,000 deaths from 1970-2019. Since 2000, the number and duration of droughts have risen by 29%.

From 1970 to 2019, weather, climate and water hazards accounted for 50% of disasters and 45% of disaster-related deaths, mostly in developing countries.

From 1998 to 2017, droughts caused global economic losses of roughly USD 124 billion.

By 2030, or in the next eight years, drought will potentially displace an estimated 700 million people worldwide. 

Report on India

India has featured in the assessment as one of the severely drought-impacted countries. Nearly two-thirds of the country suffered drought during 2020-2022.

The effect of severe droughts was estimated to have reduced India’s gross domestic product by 2-5% over the 20 years from 1998-2017.

What are the recommendations given by the report?

-Sustainable and efficient agricultural management techniques that grow more food on less land and with less water.

-Changes in relationships with food, fodder and fibre, moving toward plant-based diets and reducing or stopping the consumption of animals.

-Development and implementation of integrated drought action plans

-Set up effective early-warning systems that work across boundaries.

-Deployment of new technologies such as satellite monitoring and artificial intelligence to guide decisions with greater precision.

-Mobilize sustainable finance to improve drought resilience at the local level.

What do the other reports say about India’s drought situation?

According to Down To Earth analysis, India’s drought-prone area has increased by 57% since 1997. One-third of India’s districts have faced more than four droughts over the past decade and 50 million people are affected by drought every year.

According to the Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas of India, some 97.85 million hectares — nearly 30% of the country’s land — underwent land degradation during 2018-19.

Source: The post is based on the article “Desertification: ‘Droughts reduced India’s GDP by up to 5% in 20 years’” published in Down To Earth on 11th May 2022.

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