Operationalization of the Regional Drought Mechanism: Mongolia

To help address the challenges of drought monitoring, Mongolia became the first pilot country for ESCAP’s Regional Drought Mechanism. The process began in 2013 following a request to ESCAP to pilot the Mechanism through the Mongolian National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) within the Information and Research Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment (IRIMHE). Through the RESAP network, ESCAP facilitated matching Mongolia’s needs with the ability, from three Regional Service Nodes in China, India and Thailand in particular from Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to provide customizable tools and expertise to enhance the capacity for drought monitoring and analysis for decision-making in the crop farming, forest, and pastoral animal husbandry sectors in Mongolia.

RADI, recently renamed Aerospace Information Research Institute (AIR), developed the DroughtWatch System. This is a multi-satellite, multi-scale drought monitoring system that includes an auto-processing chain from satellite data downloading, pre-processing, index calculation, drought monitoring, statistics and analysis, and data management. Through a five-year developing and learning process, DroughtWatch-Mongolia was officially handed over to Mongolia, in September 2018, in full operation and having the ability to provide real-time drought monitoring for disaster prevention and mitigation. An exploration of this multi-year and multi-partner investment reveals how the Regional Drought Mechanism was tailored to local needs, with sustainability and future use in mind.

Additional details and more practices like this can be found in Geospatial Practices for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific 2020: A Compendium