Early Warning for All action plan unveiled at COP27 – World

The initial five-year investment cost is estimated at US$3.1 billion, the benefits are enormous

Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, 7 November 2022 (WMO) – It will cost the equivalent of just 50 cents per person per year over the next five years to reach everyone on Earth with early warnings of increasingly extreme and dangerous weather, according to a plan unveiled today today by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

The Executive Action Plan for the Early Warnings for All initiative calls for new initial targeted investments between 2023 and 2027 of US$3.1 billion – a sum that would be dwarfed by the benefits. This is only a small fraction (around 6%) of the US$50 billion requested for adaptation finance. It would cover disaster risk knowledge, observations and forecasts, preparedness and response, and early warning communication.

Mr. Guterres announced the plan during a meeting of leaders of government and United Nations organizations, funding agencies, major tech companies and the private sector at the Global Leaders Summit during the United Nations negotiations on the climate change, COP27. The plan was developed by the World Meteorological Organization and its partners, and it was backed by a joint statement signed by 50 countries.

“The steady increase in greenhouse gas emissions is amplifying extreme weather events across the planet. These growing calamities are costing lives and hundreds of billions of dollars in loss and damage. Three times as many people are displaced by climate disasters as by war. Half of humanity is already in the danger zone,” Guterres said.

“We need to invest equally in adaptation and resilience. This includes information that allows us to anticipate storms, heat waves, floods and droughts. To this end, I have called for everyone on Earth to be protected by early warning systems within five years, with the priority of supporting the most vulnerable first,” Mr. Guterres said.

The Executive Action Plan sets out the concrete way forward to achieve this goal.

The need is urgent. The number of recorded disasters has increased fivefold, partly due to human-induced climate change and more extreme weather. This trend should continue.

And yet, half of the countries in the world do not have early warning systems and even fewer have regulatory frameworks to link early warnings to contingency plans. Coverage is worst for developing countries that are on the front lines of climate change, namely least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS).

Scientists progress

Early warning systems are widely seen as the “low-hanging fruit” for climate change adaptation, as they are a relatively cheap and effective way to protect people and property from hazards, including storms. , floods, heat waves and tsunamis, to name a few.

“Early warnings save lives and provide vast economic benefits. Just 24 hours’ notice of an impending hazardous event can reduce the resulting damage by 30%,” said WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas.

The Global Commission on Adaptation found that spending just US$800 million on such systems in developing countries would avoid losses of US$3 billion to US$16 billion per year.

“Such progress is only possible with modern science, sustained systematic observing networks, daily international exchange of quality data, access to high quality early warning products, translation of forecasts into impacts, as well as advances in telecommunications,” Professor Taalas said.

The essential ingredients for achieving early warnings for all include: a better understanding of risks on all time scales; stronger national meteorological and hydrological services, disaster risk management agencies and emergency preparedness measures; accessible financial and technical support and a proactive humanitarian sector. A people-centered approach that prioritizes community engagement is fundamental.

The 2023-2027 Executive Action Plan defines the recipe for combining these ingredients to achieve this goal. It summarizes the initial actions required to achieve the goal and sets the path for implementation.

Sameh Hassan Shoukry, Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs and President of COP27, said: “The science is there and clearly shows the urgency with which we must act to help those who need support to adapt to the negative impacts of climate change. The launch of this executive action plan is an important contribution to adaptation and resilience, particularly in Africa, where 60% of the population is not covered by early warning systems.

Mozambique’s President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi and a number of prime ministers and ministers addressed the high-level roundtable to launch the Early Warnings for All action plan, highlighting broad political support for the ‘initiative.

Brad Smith, Vice President and President of Microsoft, addressed the event – underscoring the fundamental role technology can play in ensuring early warnings reach the last mile.

“This UN initiative will save lives by enabling people to adapt to climate change and respond to early warnings before disaster strikes,” said Smith. “Today we have the AI ​​and data tools. Let’s put them to work to predict and prevent the next crisis.

“The Early Warnings for All initiative provides an opportunity for countries to significantly improve their understanding of risk, which is the foundation of all resilience-building efforts. For these reasons and many more, the implementation of this action plan is essential to save lives. Secretary-General António Guterres gave us the vision and WMO gave us the “how”. It is up to all of us now to make this a reality,” said Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Other speakers at the roundtable on the opening day of COP27 included the heads of the United Nations Climate Change Framework, the Green Climate Fund, the Adaptation Fund, the Climate Investment Funds and the Islamic Development Bank, the World Food Programme, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

four pillars

The new targeted investments estimated at US$3.1 billion over five years would be used to advance the four key pillars of the Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (MHEWS):

  • Disaster risk awareness ($374 million) – systematically collect data and undertake risk assessments on hazards and vulnerabilities

  • Observations and forecasts ($1.18 billion) – developing risk monitoring and early warning services

  • Preparedness and Response ($1 billion) – building national and community response capacities

  • Dissemination and Communication ($550 million) – communicating risk information so that it reaches all who need it, and is understandable and usable

The plan identifies key areas to advance universal knowledge of disaster risk and outlines the priority actions needed to achieve this, building on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

It prioritizes key technical actions needed to enhance hazard detection capability, fill the observational gap and advance global forecast data processing and data exchange systems, thereby optimizing international efforts.

The plan outlines how key foundational financing mechanisms will be strengthened to support achievement of the goal, including a new framework developed by the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative and the Green Climate Fund, and l operationalization of the Systematic Observations Funding Mechanism (SOFF).

The plan also calls for increased coherence and alignment of existing and planned investments from international financing institutions, using the Hydromet Development Alliance as an important unifying partnership of climate finance institutions.

The plan recognizes the success of existing bilateral funds for early warnings and calls for an acceleration of these mechanisms. Tracking progress, informed decision-making and measuring success are all essential to ensure effective implementation, and so plans are outlined to develop an Early Warnings for All Maturity Index target before COP 28.

To ensure progress and continued strategic alignment of activities with the implementing agencies, the United Nations Secretary-General establishes an Early Warnings for All Board of Directors, co-chaired by the Chief Executives of the Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

Board members will include many of the key partners who have shaped this executive action plan to date. The Council will report annually on progress to the UN Secretary-General ahead of COP meetings.

In addition, an annual multi-stakeholder forum will be organized to improve consultation and foster collaboration with a wider group of partners.

WMO is the authoritative voice of the United Nations system on weather, climate and water

For more information, contact:

Clare Nullis, Media Manager, Email [email protected], Mobile +41 79-709 13 97

Brigitte Perrin, Head of Office of Strategic Communications, Email [email protected], Mobile +41-79 513 05 12

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