Latin American G-WADI

Latin American G-WADI:Water Center for Arid and Semi-arid zones in Latin America and the Caribbean (CAZALAC)

The first G-WADI/LAC Regional Meeting took place at the ASADWA (Arid and Semi Arid Development Through Water Augmentation) International Conference in December 2010, in order to create the G-WADI network in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean, and in order to establish a working group for this program in the Region, coordinated by CAZALAC. One of the main results of this Meeting was the establishment of CAZALAC to assume the Technical Secretariat of the Network in the Region, in addition to the identification of the first tasks to be conducted in order to consolidate the network.

Later, in the framework of the Regional Meeting of the International Hydrological Program, which took place in Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic in June/July 2011, the second Regional Meeting of the G-WADI Group took place, in order to establish a strategic program for the implementation of the network and to define the main lines of action for the Region.

Since then, the network has, with its many partners, focused on drought products, such as a drought atlas (, and a draft drought monitor (in preparation). Further information is available at




Experts in drought management gather in Chile to analyse new tools to face global water stress


©UNESCO/Carolina Jerez

International Expert Symposium “Building a Community of Practice on Drought Management Tools” held at the FAO auditorium in Santiago de Chile between 19 and 21 November, 2014.


The event is organised by UNESCO and supported by the Centre for Natural Resources and Development (CRND), Climate Services Partnership, International Centre for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM), and the Government of Flanders (Belgium).

Building a community of practice to develop and allow the usage of drought management tools across the regional and worldwide is one of the principal goals of the International Expert Symposium “Building a Community of Practice on Drought Management Tools”. The event runs from Wednesday 19 to Friday 21 November, at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) auditorium, Av. Dag Hammarskjöld 3241, Vitacura, Santiago.

The symposium is being organised by UNESCO, seeking to develop project proposals and solutions, in view of the urgent need for international collaboration to fend off global water stress. This is a vitally important issue at the regional level, as drought causes long term consequences for societies and the local economy in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In light of this scenario, a community of practice will be formed for the usage and development of drought management tools. The group will be embedded in existing regional networks, such as Aridas-LAC, the Center for Natural Resources and Development (CNRD) and the UNESCO Global Network for Water and Development Information for Arid Lands (G-WADI), in close collaboration with the Columbia University Global Centres.

UNESCO Hydrological Systems and Global Change programme specialist Koen Verbist explains how the group will work: “the community with permit interchange of knowledge and will aid students and researchers in identifying new research topics, connecting them with their peers around the world and thus opening the way for collaboration in areas of shared interest”.

Monitoring and action

At the Santiago event, experts will share information on advances in the field, and shall discuss gaps in available knowledge. They will exchange indices, drought monitoring techniques, and best practices in data management for early warning of these phenomena. They will also develop integrated approaches oriented towards effective drought management, taking into account regional characteristics such as climate, hydrology, the cryosphere, and water storage and demand.

The principal goals of the symposium will be the generation of a renewed dialogue between science, policy, the public and private sectors regarding the state of the art for drought monitoring and management in Latin America and the Caribbean. The event is also hoped to help gage real demand for research and action in the field of drought management. Additionally, working groups will be formed and regional collaborative project proposals will be developed, and by the close of the event the participating specialists and organizations will have formed a “Declaration on Drought Management”.


Invited experts

  • Walter Baetghen, International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Columbia University
  • Upmanu Lall, Columbia University, United States
  • Michael Hayes, Nebraska Drought Mitigation Center, United States
  • Amir AghaKouchak, Centre for Hydrometereology & Remote Sensing, UCIrvine, Estados Unidos
  • Henny Van Laanen, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  • Eduardo Martins, Fundación Cearenense de Meteorología y Recursos Hídricos (FUNCEME), Brazil
  • Justin Sheffield, Princeton University, United States
  • Paulo Barbosa, Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES)
  • Antonio Rocha Magalhaes, Centre for Strategic Studies and Management, Brazil
  • Abdou Ali, AGRHYMET Regional Centre, Niger

More information


Flood and Drought Monitor for Latin America and the Caribbean conducts technology transfer in Santiago de Chile

©UNESCO/Flood and Drought Monitor for Latin America and the Caribbean

Predicting current and future periods of flooding and drought is the main characteristic that the Monitor System for Latin America and the Caribbean offers. The Monitor was designed to forecast these phenomena. With the goal of learning to use this valuable tool, a technology transfer workshop will be held on 17 and 18 November, 2014, at the UNESCO Office in Santiago de Chile.

The training event will be attended by professionals from the hydro-meteorological agencies of 14 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, who will also learn protocols for the calibration and validation of the system by working with national precipitation and flow rate records from their countries of origin.

Koen Verbist, a specialist in the UNESCO programme on Hydrological Systems and Global Change, explains the need for learning how to use these tools in the region: “Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean countries are being affected by climate change, generating episodes of extreme stress on water resources. It is vital that we learn how to read data from yesterday and today in order to be able to manage flood and drought risk, minimize people’s vulnerability to these events through early warning, and work together, given that the impacts of flooding and drought often cross national borders - as in the case of the current drought in Central America.”

The Monitor will have the capacity to forecast these phenomena in the short term (7 days) and also in longer timescales (months).

How does the Monitor work?

The tool was developed by the Terrestrial Hydrology Research Group at Princeton University, with the support of the International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM) and the Water Centre for Arid Zones in Latin America and the Caribbean (CAZALAC). This regional version will use the same technology that was used for the United States and Africa and is based on a Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model for the region, combined with climatological inputs from the Climate Forecasting System (CFS). Thus, the system is calibrated with a combination of observation-derived datasets and remote sensing.

The Monitor works through a web portal that contains information on current meteorological conditions (precipitation, temperature, radiation, and wind velocity) as well as drought indicators (SPI, soil moisture, NDVI) and indicators of flooding (flow rates). This information can be obtained for large areas or for specific points, and for a user-selected time period. The data are compared with expected conditions or percentiles.

The workshop will identify short- and medium-term hydro-climatological risks, and will set out to provide participants with experience that they can apply in their own countries. The activity will also define a follow-up plan and a road map for the introduction of improvements and adjustments for the tool.

More information:


Reunión Regional G-WADI PARA ALC - Juan Dolio, República Dominicana, 1º de Julio 2011


  • Oficina Regional de UNESCO-PHI
  • Red GWADI

En el marco de esta conferencia, ASADWA se llevó a cabo la Primera Reunión Regional G-WADI/ALC, con el objetivo de crear la red G-WADI en la región de América Latina y el Caribe y de establecer un grupo de trabajo para este programa en la Región coordinado por CAZALAC. Como uno de los principales resultados de esta Reunión, se estableció que CAZALAC asume la Secretaría Técnica de la Red en la Región, y además se identificaron las primeras tareas a llevar a cabo a fin de consolidar la red.

Posteriormente en el marco de la Reunión Regional del Programa Hidrológico Internacional, celebrada en Juan Dolio (República Dominicana), se llevó a cabo la segunda Reunión Regional del Grupo G-WADI, con el fin de estab programa estratégico para la implementación de la red y definir las principales líneas de acción para la Región.

Objectivos de la Reunión

  • Definición de las principales líneas de acción de la Red G-WADI/LAC
  • Extensión de la Red a un mayor número de países participantes
  • Definición de acciones de corto plazo 2011-2012

Informe de la Reunón


For more information please click here.