October 16, 2013

Wilhite chairs drought committees in Switzerland

Don Wilhite has been a UNL faculty member since 1977 and is the founding director of the International Drought Information Center and the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Don Wilhite, climatologist and professor, chaired the advisory and management committees for the Integrated Drought Management Program at meetings held Oct. 14-15 at the World Meteorological Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Wilhite was asked to chair the committees at the request of the WMO and the Global Water Partnership.

“The WMO and GWP asked me to chair both the advisory and management committees for the IDMP because of my long history of research on drought management and policy,” Wilhite said.

At the meetings, attendees discussed the draft of the guidelines for national drought management policies, which was prepared by Wilhite. When completed, these guidelines will be one of a series of products available from the IDMP to assist nations in the policy development process.

The IDMP was officially launched in March 2013 at the High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy in Geneva. At the time, Wilhite chaired the international organizing committee for the HMNDP and delivered the meeting’s keynote address.

“My involvement brings additional visibility to SNR, UNL and the National Drought Mitigation Center,” Wilhite said. “UNL is considered to be one of the world’s leading institutions in the field of drought management. This involvement only serves to strengthen this acknowledgement.”

The objective of the IDMP is “to support stakeholders at all levels by providing them with policy and management guidance through globally coordinated generation of scientific information and sharing best practices and knowledge for integrated drought management.”

The IDMP management committee is composed of WMO and GWP representatives, as well as a select group of international drought experts. The IDMP is supported by multiple agencies of the United Nations and other organizations.

“We have developed an aggressive work plan for the first 18 months of this program with a continuation of the program over the next five years as additional donor support is obtained,” Wilhite said. “The program is considered to be of high value in reducing the impacts and the risks associated with severe drought events in developing and developed countries in the future.”