Learning from experience: a systematic review of assessments of vulnerability to drought

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In the last decades, there have been an increasing number of vulnerability studies undertaken in the frameworks of several schools of thought and disciplines. This spur of activity is linked to the growing awareness about the importance of shifting from a crisis-reactive approach to a proactive and preventive risk-management approach to deal with natural disasters. The severity of the impacts that drought provokes worldwide has also contributed to raise awareness about the need to improve its management. In this context, drought vulnerability assessments are the first step in the identification of underlying causes that generate drought impacts. This paper presents a systematic review of past assessments of vulnerability to drought, to enhance the understanding of vulnerability and help orientating future research in this field. Results suggest that there are important geographical and thematic gaps to be filled in the assessment of drought vulnerability. Transparency in the design and validation of results should be improved, while the availability of relevant, reliable, and updated data is still a major constraint at all levels.
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