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United Nations urges global efforts to respond to drought

June 17, 2013 at 4:24 PM

NEW YORK, June 17 (UPI) -- United Nations officials say global action is needed to improve responses to the threat of drought around the world.

Countries must work collectively to build resilience and prepare themselves against drought, officials said Monday.

"Droughts are hard to avert, but their effects can be mitigated," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

"Because they rarely observe national borders they demand a collective response," he said.

Ban urged countries to build resilience to droughts by implementing the recommendations of the High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy held in Geneva in March.

"The price of preparedness is minimal compared to the cost of disaster relief," he said.

Luc Gnacadja, the executive secretary of the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification, echoed Ban's remarks.

"Investing in our resilience today costs a fraction of the relief price we will pay tomorrow, and its benefits are worth far more," he said. "Becoming a drought-resilient global society is not only possible and affordable, it must be our first and only option."

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