Early warning systems must protect everyone within five years [EN/AR/RU/ZH] – World

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UN unveils ambitious goal to adapt to climate change and more extreme weather

Over the next five years, everyone on Earth should be protected by early warning systems against increasingly extreme weather and climate change, according to an ambitious new United Nations goal announced today.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has tasked the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) with leading the effort and presenting an action plan to achieve this goal at the upcoming UN climate conference in Egypt in November.

The announcement was made on World Meteorological Day on March 23, which this year is themed Early Warning and Early Action.

“Human-caused climate disturbances are now damaging all regions. The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change details the suffering already underway. Each increase in global warming will further increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events,” 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,” the UN chief said.

However, a third of the world’s population, mostly in least developed countries and small island developing states, is still not covered by early warning systems. In Africa, it’s even worse: 60% of the population is not covered.

“This is unacceptable, especially with climate impacts that are sure to worsen,” Mr Guterres said.

“Early warnings and action save lives. To that end, I am announcing today that the United Nations will lead a new effort to ensure that everyone on Earth is protected by early warning systems within five years. I have asked the World Meteorological Organization to lead this effort and present an action plan at the next UN climate conference later this year in Egypt,” Guterres said in a message. video during the World Meteorological Day ceremony.

“We must strengthen everyone’s predictive power and strengthen their capacity for action. On this World Meteorological Day, let us recognize the value of early warnings and early action as essential tools to reduce disaster risk and support adaptation to climate change.

Climate change is already very visible through more extreme weather patterns in all regions of the world. We are seeing more intense heat waves, droughts and wildfires. There is more water vapor in the atmosphere, leading to extreme rainfall and deadly flooding. The warming ocean is fueling more powerful tropical storms and rising sea levels are increasing the impacts.

Over the past 50 years (1970-2019), an average weather, climate or water-related disaster has occurred every day – killing 115 people and causing $202 million in losses per day, according to a report by WMO 2021 on Disasters. statistics.

The number of recorded disasters has increased fivefold over this 50-year period, driven by human-induced climate change, more extreme weather events and improved reporting.

Thanks to better warnings, the number of lives lost has almost tripled in the same period thanks to better weather forecasts and proactive and coordinated disaster management.

“The increasing number of disasters due to climate change puts the implementation of many of the Sustainable Development Goals at risk. In addition to very critical mitigation, it is increasingly important to invest in climate adaptation. Improving weather, water and climate early warning services and related observing infrastructure provides one of the highest returns on investment. There is a need to invest $1.5 billion over the next five years to improve the quality of services and related infrastructure, especially in the least developed countries and small island developing States,” said the Secretary. General of WMO, Professor Petteri Taalas.

What is an early warning system?

An early warning system for floods, droughts, heat waves or storms is an integrated system that lets people know that dangerous weather conditions are on their way and that informs governments, communities and individuals about how they can act to minimize impending impacts.

These systems allow us to monitor real-time atmospheric conditions on land and at sea and efficiently predict future weather and climate events using advanced numerical models. The aim is to understand what risks predictable storms could bring to an area that will be affected – which may differ if it is a city or a rural area, a polar, coastal or mountainous region. Early warning systems should include agreed response plans for governments, communities and individuals to minimize anticipated impacts. A comprehensive early warning system should also include lessons learned from past events, to continuously improve responses in anticipation of future weather, climate, water and related environmental hazards.

Early warnings work

The Global Commission on Adaptation’s 2019 flagship report ‘Adapt Now’ found that early warning systems deliver a more than tenfold return on investment – the greatest of all the adaptation measures included in the report .

The report also revealed that just 24 hours of warning of an upcoming storm or heatwave can reduce the resulting damage by 30% and that spending US$800 million on such systems in countries in development would avoid losses of 3 to 16 billion dollars per year.

And yet, despite these great known benefits, one in three people in the world are still not covered by early warning services, and the proportion of uncovered people is almost twice as high in Africa. Vulnerable people are disproportionately affected.

The Glasgow Climate Pact (agreed at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November 2021) highlights the urgency of scaling up actions to improve adaptive capacity, build resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change . It also urges developed countries to urgently and significantly scale up their climate finance, technology transfer and adaptive capacity building.

The British government, which chaired COP26, and the Egyptian government, which will chair COP27 in Sharm-el-Sheikh, have recently renewed their calls on developed countries to follow through on their pledge to at least double their funding climate change for adaptation in developing countries. countries by 2025, aiming to achieve a balance between adaptation and mitigation financing.

Ambassadors from the UK and Egypt are due to speak at the World Weather Day ceremony, which included panels of high-level speakers illustrating the need and success of early warnings and early action .

Synergies and partnerships

WMO will spearhead efforts to ensure universal coverage of early warning services, working closely with key partners, as part of a collective contribution to global adaptation efforts.

It will seek to close observation gaps, increase the capacity of all countries to issue pre-disaster warnings, and simultaneously improve their ability to act on those warnings and respond in a people-centred, inclusive and accessible.

Following Mr. Guterres’ announcement, WMO will bring together key agencies, countries and groups already active in the field of hydrometallurgy and the development of risk-informed early warning capabilities to build on the excellent existing efforts and create a global plan by COP27. Closing the early warning gap will require the contribution of actors along the value chain from early warning to early action.

The new plan seeks to build on existing WMO activities and partnerships.

These include:

  • WMO’s Global Multi-Hazard Alert System (GMAS) builds on advances in early warning against hazards such as tropical cyclones, floods and coastal flooding.
  • The Systematic Observations Funding Facility (SOFF), which was established at COP26 jointly with UNEP and UNDP as a new funding mechanism. It aims to significantly increase the availability of basic weather and climate observation data and fill gaps, particularly in least developed countries and small island developing States. These data are the basis of all weather forecasts and climate services. These gaps therefore compromise the effectiveness of all climate change adaptation actions and investments. The Nordic Development Fund (NDF) recently committed 10 million euros for SOFF.

  • The Climate Risks and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative fills the capacity gap in vital early warning systems for vulnerable countries. The initiative ensures that forecasts and warnings of extreme events are received, understood and acted upon by those most at risk. He has been widely hailed as a success story and now has a portfolio of over US$90 million. In 2022, WMO is stepping up its action on early warning systems in Africa through CREWS with a new $5 million early warning program for the Central Africa region. Similar programs are in preparation for the Horn and East Africa regions.

Notes to editors:

World Meteorological Day digital resources, visuals and speeches are available here.

The World Meteorological Day ceremony begins at 13:00 GMT on March 23. It is a hybrid event. Program and livestream details are available here.

World Meteorological Day commemorates the entry into force of the Convention Establishing the World Meteorological Organization on March 23, 1950. It highlights the vital role of national meteorological and hydrological services in protecting lives and property.

The World Meteorological Organization is the authoritative voice of the United Nations system on weather, climate and water

For more information, please contact: Brigitte Perrin, Strategic Communications Manager, [email protected], tel. 41-79 5130512 or Clare Nullis, WMO Media Officer, [email protected], tel. 41-79-7091397

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