• Drylands cover 41% of the land area and are expanding. 
  • It is estimated that 12 million people in the world have lost their lives due to desertification processes.

Bogotá, Colombia. 5 July 2022. During the commemoration of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought and National Soil Day in Colombia on 17 June, the Drought Monitor for Colombia was presented. This tool was developed by the International Centre for El Niño Research (CIIFEN) and the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) in the framework of the Euroclima+ project "Strengthening national and regional systems for monitoring and managing the risk of droughts and floods in a context of climate change and desertification in the Andean countries", which is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and the French Development Agency (AFD).

The activity was attended by the General Coordinator of Spanish Cooperation in Costa Rica, Mr. Rafael García, whose office is in charge of regional development programmes specialising in environment and climate change.

Garcia expressed the importance of this struggle: "Desertification is having tremendous impacts. It is estimated that from 1900 to date, around 2.7 billion people have been severely affected by drought and around 12 million people have lost their lives due to phenomena directly related to desertification.

These types of monitors are intended to strengthen institutional capacities to manage extreme events such as drought and reduce the social, economic and environmental impacts associated with this phenomenon.

The event was also attended by Ramiro Romero, representing the Spanish State Meteorological Agency, who shared Spain's experience with drought monitoring. Being a country with 74% of its territory affected or vulnerable to this phenomenon, his experience has been a reference for the creation of the monitor for Colombia.

"In Spain, we monitor drought with a standardised precipitation index that provides us with monthly values that we can compare with all historical periods," said Romero.

This reference, together with the work that has been carried out previously in the countries of North America, North and South Africa and Brazil, has been the basis for the construction of the Colombian monitor.

The Colombia Drought Monitor works with satellite data sources to collect information for precipitation, temperature, soil moisture and vegetation indices. It also relies on the help of volunteer observers on the ground who, through an online questionnaire, corroborate what the monitor records. This makes it a hybrid monitoring process: satellite and terrain.

Mario López, water resources consultant for the Colombia Drought Monitor, noted the importance of these actions: "Drought monitoring is an early warning, which allows us to generate maps of drought occurrence and vulnerability. It serves to mitigate the risk of drought and guide mitigation actions developed by the government". Therefore, the Drought Monitor is a trigger for decision-making processes at the highest institutional level.

Euroclima+ continues to work in support of Disaster Risk Management programmes throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

About the Project

The project "Strengthening national and regional drought and flood risk monitoring and management systems in a context of climate change and desertification in the Andean countries" aims to reduce the social and economic impacts associated with floods and droughts through capacity building and the articulation of regional, national and local institutions involved in drought and flood risk management in the countries of western South America.


EUROCLIMA+ is a programme funded by the European Union and co-financed by the German federal government through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), as well as by the governments of France and Spain. It aims to reduce the impact of climate change and its effects in 18 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean by promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation, resilience and investment.

The Programme is implemented under the synergistic work of seven agencies: the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the French Development Agency (AFD), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Expertise France (EF), the International and Ibero-America Foundation for Administration and Public Policy (FIIAPP), the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) GmbH and the UN Environment Programme.


For more information about EUROCLIMA+, contact Alexandra Cortés: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

For more information about Disaster risk management and reduction: droughts and floods, write to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.