September 23, 2023

Countries committed to action at the UN General Assembly Ministerial meeting

New York, 21 September 2022 (WMO) – Momentum is gathering to achieve a plan to ensure that every person on Earth is protected by an early warning system in the next five years, thus obtaining a of the most effective “low-hanging fruit” in climate change adaptation.

Ministers gathered in New York on 21 September on the sidelines of the 77th United Nations General Assembly High-Level week to lend support to the UN Early Warnings for All initiative as an urgent step in climate adaptation.

Organized by the United Nations, the Government of Egypt, and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the ministerial Early Warnings for Climate Adaptation Event brings together countries from around the world, donors, international development agencies and the private sector. The event was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations in New York.

“We must ensure that every person, community and country has access to effective early warning systems within the next five years,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the opening session of the UN General Assembly on 20 September. “It is high time to move beyond endless discussions. Fragile countries need meaningful action,” he said.

Mr Guterres asked the WMO to present a road map at the UN Climate Change conference, COP27, in Egypt in November to achieve the life-saving campaign. COP27 will shift the focus from promises and promises to action on the ground.

“One in three people worldwide, especially in Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries, and six out of every ten people in Africa lack access to effective early warning systems. This is why the Secretary-General is calling for a global plan to ensure universal coverage of the Early Warning System within the next five years. We have the technological tools and financial resources to do it. Protecting the lives and protecting the livelihoods of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis must be a collective global responsibility,” said Assistant Secretary-General for Climate Action, Selwin Hart.

An estimated 3.3 to 3.6 billion people live in situations that are highly vulnerable to climate change. Over the past 50 years (1970-2019), a weather, climate or water-related disaster claimed the lives of 115 people per day and caused US$ 202 million in losses per day. The number of recorded disasters has increased by a factor of five, due in part to human-caused climate change and more extreme weather.

Attesting to the success of early warnings, the number of lives lost has decreased almost threefold in the past 50 years due to better weather forecasts and proactive and coordinated disaster management.

“The statistics speak for themselves,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Tallas. “Early warning systems are a proven, effective, and feasible climate adaptation measure, which can save lives and money. We can and must reach the most vulnerable and make sure they translate early action.”

Effective Climate Adaptation Tool

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report on Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability identified early warning systems as one of the key adaptation options.

The 2019 Global Commission on Adaptation flagship report ‘Adapt Now’ found that Early Warning Systems provide more than a tenfold return on investment – the largest of any adaptation measure included in the report.

The report also found that just a 24-hour warning of an impending typhoon or heat wave could cut the ensuing damage by 30 percent and that spending US$ 800 million on such systems in poor countries would avert the loss. which is $3-16 billion per year.

“The Least Developed Countries are among the most vulnerable to climate change. We need to accelerate efforts to help the Least Developed Countries adapt to new and future climate risk Nduwa Mkaka, Malawi’s Minister of Natural Resources and Climate Change and LDC Group Chair.

“Small islands are on the front lines of the climate crisis. We need the international community to deliver on their commitments to accelerate climate adaptation action. Early warning systems can save lives and prevent of economic loss. All small islands must be protected by early warning systems as a matter of urgency,” said HE Molwyn Joseph, Minister for Health, Wellness and the Environment of Antigua and Barbuda, and chair of the Alliance for Small Island States.

Financial commitments

A variety of new and existing new financial solutions are needed to implement the plan to protect every person on Earth. This includes scaling up the Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative, the Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF), and accelerated investment programs in climate funds, such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Adaptation Fund.

CREWS already supports 75 countries and has received nearly US$80 million in contributions since it was launched in 2015, led by France.

“We need to go further and faster and we are now aiming to raise an additional US $ 155 million by 2027,” said Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, Minister for State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships in France. He announced that France will double its annual contribution to CREWS, starting in 2023, to 8 million Euros per year.

The German Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Bärbel Kofler, also expressed the commitment to CREWS and the SOFF, one of the other foundations for the establishment of the Early Warnings for All initiative is the SOFF.

“Recognizing the urgent need for action, the Nordic Development Fund has made a significant contribution to the Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) – a foundational building block of the UN Early Warning Systems Initiative. SOFF can close the gaps of basic weather and climate observations in the most vulnerable countries, leading to improved weather forecasts, early warning systems and climate information services. This can only be achieved as a collective international effort, and we look forward to seeing more countries join the SOFF UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund”, said Karin Isaksson, Managing Director of the Nordic Development Fund.

What is an Early Warning System?

The Multi-Hazard Early Warning System is an integrated system that allows people to know that dangerous weather or climate events (floods, typhoons, heatwaves) are on their way, and informs people about how to act to minimize those. effect. End-to-end MHEWS includes risk awareness, observation, communication and response.

The practicality, implementability, and universal political appeal of early warning systems make them an appropriate focus area at COP27.

HE President El-Sisi of Egypt recently highlighted making promises and commitments into implementation on the ground as a top priority of Egypt’s COP27 Presidency. President El-Sisi also emphasized the need to improve the size, quality and mechanisms of climate financing available to developing countries, including helping them adapt to the negative effects of climate change. climate.

In this regard, the COP26 and COP27 Presidencies called for developed countries to adhere to their commitments made in Glasgow to at least double their climate finance for adaptation to developing countries by 2025 , which aims to achieve a balance between funding adaptation and mitigation.

COP26 President Alok Sharma highlighted the UK’s support for the Early Warning Initiative for All. He expressed concern that there would be some “back rowing” on the climate commitments made in Glasgow. “That’s unacceptable,” he said.

WMO and partners are working to ensure that early warnings translate into early action and reach the last mile.

As a young indigenous woman, I accept the UN Secretary General’s call for Early Warning Systems for all, under the leadership of the WMO,” said Ms Archana Soreng, member of the UN Secretary’s Youth Advisory Group -General on Climate Change. “Countries must prioritize Early Warning Systems for all people, and ensure meaningful participation – at all levels of the process – and leadership roles for youth, indigenous and local communities, and other marginalized communities most affected by the climate crisis. I urge countries to ensure language diversity in the delivery of Early Warning Systems for all, so we leave no one behind,” he said.

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