Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of droughts around the world, adding pressure on already scarce resources and thus threatening, not only water but also food and energy security. In Latin America and the Caribbean, a region with 1/3 of the world’s freshwater resources, drought should not translate into water shortages. However, reality proves otherwise. Mexico’s Grijalva River, the country’s second longest waterway, reached critically low levels in 2015. Brasilia has experienced the most severe water crisis in its history; the extreme decrease in rainfall and diminished reservoir levels led the capital to ration its water supply, leaving many of the 3 million residents without continuous water supply. Central America’s dry corridor faces ongoing shortages leading to increased migration and socio-economic uncertainty. And the list goes on. In this context, what measures can countries take to limit the consequences of drought? The purpose of this session is to discuss lessons learned from innovative planning and investment approaches that combat drought.
Eleanor Allen is a compassionate truth-teller and advocate of empowered equality for people across the globe. She is a world-leading water expert dedicated to helping billions of people access safe and sustainable water and sanitation services needed to save lives, stay healthy, find jobs, and thrive.
Eleanor is fiercely passionate about improving the state of the world with respect to water and sanitation. She has dedicated her career to this goal, first as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic, then as a consulting engineer (at CH2M/Jacobs and Arcadis), and now as the CEO of Water For People. As a professional civil engineer, Eleanor has lived and worked all over the world. As a business executive with extensive experience in water, she has led large global and regional operations in consulting, project management, program management, business development, and engineering. Eleanor believes societal change can be accelerated through social entrepreneurship and the efforts of organizations like Water For People.
Dr. Roger S. Pulwarty is the Senior Scientist in the NOAA Physical Sciences Laboratory at the NOAA Office of Oceans and Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. He was previously the Senior Science Advisor for Climate, and the Director of the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) in the NOAA Climate Program Office. His over one hundred articles, book chapters, and technical reports, focus on climate science, risk management and information services in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. Roger has designed and led widely-recognized programs dealing with climate science and services, including the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments, NIDIS, the GEF Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change project in the Caribbean, and the InterAmerican Institute Collaborative Research Network on Eastern Pacific Boundary Currents. Roger is a lead author on the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Global Assessment Reports, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Reports on Water Resources and on Extremes, and convening lead author on the IPCC Working Group II Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, and the US National Climate Assessment. Roger has served on scientific committees of the National Academy of Sciences, provided testimonies before the U.S. Congress, and acts as an advisor on climate risk management and services to the Western Governors Association, the Caribbean Economic Community, European Union, the Organization of American States, OECD, International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent, the UNDP, UNCCD, the UNEP and the InterAmerican and World Banks, among others. He co-chairs the WMO Climate Services Information System, is a member of the International Drought Management Program Board, the WMO Commission on Climatology, the cross-agency US National Drought Resilience Partnership, and the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center Advisory Board. Among other professional committees he has served on the Steering Committee of the Global Climate Observing System, and the White House Task Forces on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus and on Climate and National Security. Roger is a member of the IGU Commission on Climatology and is the U.S. Co-chair for UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 (Water). He was the recipient of the 2016 American Geophysical Union Gilbert F. White Natural Hazards Lectureship and Award, a keynote at the Adaptation Forum 2016. and is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the American Indian Sciences and Engineering Society. Roger’s work on integrating science into decision-making has been featured in several media communications, including the New York Times, National Geographic, Forbes and the BBC and has been awarded by NOAA, the Department of Commerce and with the Gold Medal for Excellence in Applied Science and Technology from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. He is the co-editor of “Hurricanes: Climate and Socioeconomic Impacts” (Springer, re-issued in paperback 2012), and “Drought and Water Crises (CRC Taylor and Francis Press, 2017). Roger is Professor-Adjunct at the University of Colorado and the University of the West Indies.