Speech by the President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, at the event of the International Drought Resilience Alliance (IDRA), within the framework of the joint Presidency with Senegal

2023.12.1

Dubai (United Arab Emirates)

SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE GOBERNMENT OF SPAIN, PEDRO SÁNCHEZ

Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you all for being here with us today and thank you for joining this very important Alliance, IDRA. I would like to share with you why it is important for Spain to be part of this important Alliance.

An observer in the Garraf forest area, in the Spanish region of Catalonia, will see something unusual today. The pine trees are dying. They are not able to withstand the three years of scarce rainfall in the region of Catalonia. This same scarcity is triggering water restrictions for six million people in order to cope with the strongest drought on record.

Unfortunately, this is no exception in Spain. Andalusia, shouthern region of Spain, is also facing a drought that threatens the park of Doñana, one of the most important wetlands in Europe.

So, this is a global phenomenon that needs collective action. And this is for we are working through this IDRA Alliance.

With that goal in mind, Senegal and Spain called for the creation of the International Drought Resilience Alliance or IDRA last year.

We then pledged to meet a year later to prove that these were not just fine words.

Well, here we are, and I am pleased to say that this first year of IDRA has brought concrete results across the four pillars of its strategic plan:

First, we managed to galvanize political support and raise international awareness on the importance of enhancing resilience to drought.

I am pleased to say that about 60 countries and organizations already joined IDRA, and I would like to welcome new members. I am sure that the Alliance will continue to grow.

In addition, the Alliance has actively participated in major events such as the UN Water Conference, the World Water Week and the Africa Climate Summit, raising further awareness of its goals and actions.

Second, we are buidling a common framework for action. To this end, IDRA has developed a list of typologies of investments for drought resilience that will help practitioners while designing new projects.

Work is also already underway at the project level on specific hotspots. One example is the Dry Corridor in Central America, where IDRA supports the affected countries in developing a comprehensive proposal to address the challenges.

Third, we are accelerating knowledge-sharing with new publications that expand our technical, economic and scientific knowledge on droughts such as the report "Global Drought Snapshot", of which we just saw some highlights. And we are building regional communities of practice to share expertise.

The Alliance is also an ideal platform to pool our national experiences. My case, in the case of Spain, we have drought risk management plans, nature restoration, river reconnectivity strategies, climate plans with an integrated approach that respects the soil-water-nature-climate nexus.

On top of that, Spain has launched a groundbreaking system for real-time monitoring of meteorological droughts, available globally to help other countries develop their early warning systems and take a proactive approach to managing drought.

Finally, IDRA is developing innovative financial mechanisms to leverage new resources. Specifically, the Alliance is working on a drought insurance model tailored to local circumstances.

Therefore, much has been done over this year and we need to recognize it.

As for the future… ─thank you very much, I think it is important to recognize this year of work for IDRA─ as for the future IDRA maintains this ambition with ongoing initiatives such as the creation of the International Drought Resilience Observatory, IDRO, a crucial project to connect global and regional drought observatories and share information.

Now is also the time to give greater political impetus to our collaboration with banks and development cooperation agencies for effective transformative action.

This year my Government announced, among others, the contribution of 225 million euros to the Green Climate Fund and 20 million euros to the Adaptation Fund, which deals largely with response to drought. And, in addition, my government has committed to increase its climate finance targets by 50%, to 1.35 billion euros per year, from 2025.

Continuing with the Spanish support to IDRA, I am pleased to announce that the "High Level Meeting on National Drought Policy +10" will take place in Barcelona in September 2024.

I conclude with a positive message: human action that has altered natural cycles is also capable of reversing that trend and preparing for the impacts.

To those of you who are not yet members of IDRA, I invite you to join this Alliance to leverage individual efforts and transform them into collective actions. Let us seize the political momentum of this COP28 to build resilience to extreme events.

Let us find that political will. I´m sure that we have it. Thank you very much. And let´s continue working in these very exciting projects.

(Transcript edited by the State Secretariat for Communication)

Original speech in English

Non official translation