But in today's global economy the costs and effects of drought often extend beyond international borders. The continuing drought in much of the Southwest US and a prolonged period of drier than normal conditions in Mexico have led to debates about shared water rights between the two countries. And to the north, the multi-year drought in the Northern Rockies and western Great Plains extends well into the agricultural prairies of Canada, dramatically affecting agricultural productivity in two countries that provide much of the world's food production. To better monitor and assess drought conditions on an ongoing basis throughout these three countries, a new continental-scale drought monitoring program is being established on the model of the successful US Drought Monitor. Background information behind the establishment of a North America Drought monitoring program and the mechanisms being implemented to accomplish the goal of operational monthly continental-style drought monitoring are discussed.