As the world continue to manage the deadly Covid-19 virus and looks at ensuring that the recovery addresses climate change threats, the significance of advanced multi-hazard threat warnings and risk information has never been more widely acknowledged. This is highlighted in the 2019 Annual Report of the Climate Risk & Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative, released jointly by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the World Bank Group / Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).
The 2019 Annual Report of the Climate Risk & Early Warning Systems outlines the cooperative actions taken by WMO, The World Bank / GFDRR and UNDRR in the past year to save lives and livelihoods through the advancement of early warning systems with CREWS support. To date, the CREWS Trust Fund has delivered over US$ 43 million in project funding and mobilized an additional US$ 270 million from public funds of other development partners – realizing accelerated life-saving action and maximized finance effectiveness.
In 2019, CREWS support was scaled up to 44 least developed countries and small island developing states. Through this work, more than 10 million people in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities now have access to better early warning services.
- In Afghanistan, 3D printers are being used to build automatic weather stations, bringing early warning services to rural communities.
- In Burkina Faso, more than 1,100 rural farmers received 130 weather forecasts in 2019, broadcast via local radio stations.
- In Fiji, nearly one million people now have advance flash flood warnings, creating increased security and saving lives.
- In Niger, more than 600 women were trained in early warning services and have now created women-led WhatsApp groups to amplify advance warnings throughout their communities.
- Across the Caribbean, national emergency management offices, national hydromet offices, national gender bureaux, sectorial ministries, and non-governmental groups including women organizations are now working together to bridge the gender divide in access to early warning systems.
The report was presented to Member States by François Rivasseau, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations in Geneva. The governments of Australia, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have contributed a total of US$ 55 million to the pooled CREWS Trust Fund. Canada supports CREWS objectives through US$ 8 million in additional funds to WMO for related CREWS activities.
In launching the global report, Rivasseau said, “The CREWS initiative’s work on early warning ensures coherence between different partners, strong ownership by the national institutions and in particular the national meteorological organizations, while ensuring funds are aligned with priority needs”.
Peteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General, said at the launch, “CREWS is operationalizing important principles for effective early warning systems. As a result, National Meteorological and Hydrological Organizations are working closely with National Disaster Management Offices. Through this approach, early warning systems are informed by risk information, which is important as impact-based warnings inform how to react to a warning so that lives and livelihoods can be saved”.
Mami Mizutori, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, said of CREWS, “Disasters affect everyone…but not everyone equally. CREWS is a valuable partnership in driving inclusive progress against the global targets of the Sendai Framework”.