The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says most countries still lack drought management policies despite evidence the phenomenon is on the rise due to climate change.
In a statement on Tuesday FAO said droughts are the world's most destructive natural disasters causing deaths and displacement of more people than cyclones, floods and earthquakes combined.
The cost of crisis management far exceeds that of risk management
"Despite being predictable, drought is the most costly and the deadliest disaster of our time and the decision to mitigate drought is ultimately political," FAO said quoting United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) executive secretary Luc Gnacadja.
"The cost of crisis management far exceeds that of risk management and early action and we should not wait until the next drought, causing famine and claiming human lives.
"More extreme and frequent droughts resulting from climate change are having devastating food security"
FAO, UNCCD, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and other partners are currently holding a High-Level Meeting on National Drought Policy meeting in Geneva.
The meeting is focusing on drought preparedness and management policies.
It has brought together world leaders, government decision-makers, development agencies, leading scientists and researchers, and government leaders whose countries have been repeatedly hit by devastating droughts.
UN institutions have joined forces to promote the development and adoption of proactive policies to make drought-prone countries more resilient.
"To buck this trend, we must build resilient, 'drought-resistant' communities and this means not simply reacting after the rains fail, but investing over the long-term, so that when drought does hit, people and food systems can weather the blow," said José Graziano da Silva, FAO director-general.
Since the 1970s, land affected by drought has doubled, with women, children and the aged often paying the heaviest price.