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Drought in Context: Rethinking Indices, Resilience, and Impacts

  • 14 May, 2024
  • 16:00
  • Wageningen University, Water Resource Management
  • prof.dr.ir. P.J.G.J. Hellegers
  • dr.ir. P.R. van Oeldr. L.A. Melsen

This thesis critically explores how existing methodologies in drought monitoring and early warning systems (DEWS) can comprehensively account for drought impacts in the local context. It reveals that current DEWS predominantly rely on physical drought indices, inadequately addressing the impacts on water and food security. By conducting a comprehensive review and analysis, the thesis highlights the necessity of integrating indices that prioritise human welfare and sustainable development. By applying Social-Ecological Systems theory in Northeast Brazil, the research demonstrates that communities’ response to drought is shaped by collective capacity to manage resilience. It suggests that monitoring these resilience factors can help in developing more nuanced drought indices that capture spatial-temporal complexities, aiding in effective policy targeting for drought-affected communities. Furthermore, the thesis introduces the Monitoring Efficacy Matrix (MEM) to evaluate the alignment of official drought data with the realities of rural communities. It identifies key mismatches and blindspots and advocates for the inclusion of qualitative, local data in DEWS. Overall, this work proposes a significant shift in drought monitoring approaches, emphasising the integration of local contexts and human-centric indices for more effective and relevant drought management strategies.

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Researcher

Sarra Kchouk

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