UNDP welcomes UN Secretary-General's announcement on Early Warning Systems

November 17, 2022

Since 2002, UNDP has completed 83 climate information and early warning systems initiatives benefiting more than 4.8 million people in 60 countries (34 Least Developed Countries and 12 Small Island Developing States).

MOWRAM Cambodia

New York - UNDP welcomed the UN Secretary General’s announcement this week of the Executive Action Plan for the Early Warnings for All initiative, including the call for initial new targeted investments of $ 3.1 billion between 2023 and 2027 and the realization of early warning systems for every person on Earth by 2027.

“Early warning systems (EWS) play a critical role in protecting lives and livelihoods worldwide and providing people with the information they need not just to survive but thrive,” said Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, Director and Executive Coordinator, Nature, Climate and Energy, UNDP. “With the impacts of the climate crisis accelerating, early warning systems for immediate threat is important but so is climate information and forecasting so that, for example, farmers can plant different crops or earlier crops or that a community can better manage its water resources. These systems are an absolute climate action priority as weather patterns change and extreme weather events become more intense and more frequent.”

With extensive experience working with countries to advance climate information and early warning systems, UNDP stands as a strong partner on the Early Warning Systems for All initiative, offering valuable insights into best practices and practical lessons from the ground but also in mobilizing support to get meaningful climate information to local communities. 

“Our vision at UNDP is to ensure governments and communities have the information they need to understand and respond to the impacts of extreme weather and climate change, and to help develop appropriate adaptation mechanisms to manage those impacts,” said Srilata Kammila, UNDP’s global Head of Adaptation. “That means, among other things, establishing effective multi-hazard early warning systems, incorporating impact-based and risk-informed forecasting, and creating effective partnerships – including with the private sector – to ensure that governments and communities can prepare for and act when warnings are issued. The announcement of the Executive Action Plan for the Early Warnings for All initiative yesterday will help galvanize investment to ensure every person on this planet is covered.”

Since 2002, UNDP has completed 83 climate information and early warning systems (CI/EWS) initiatives benefiting more than 4.8 million people in 60 countries (34 Least Developed Countries and 12 Small Island Developing States). Of these, 2.3 million people have increased access to climate information and early warning systems with the installation of over 150 early warning systems. UNDP is currently implementing a US$751 million CI/EWS portfolio across 44 projects in over 37 countries.

In August 2021 in Colombia’s La Mojana region a local forecasting centre that is receiving UNDP support through access to funds from the Green Climate Fund, was able to accurately predict which areas would be most impacted when the Cauca River flooded. This information allowed local governments to better coordinate their response and issue announcements via local channels including What's App and local media, in turn allowing communities to raise home gardens and protect water sources. In Pakistan, information captured by an Automatic Weather Station installed at Shisper Glacier helped the district administration in the timely evacuation of households during the GLOF events in April 2021 and May 2022.

Ongoing UNDP-supported initiatives include establishing a nationwide multi-hazard early warning systems linked to community-based risk reduction measures in Georgia, as well supporting participatory climate services while integrating innovative technologies in Malawi, both financed by the Green Climate Fund.

At a global level, UNDP is a co-founder of the ‘Systematic Observations Financing Facility’ (SOFF), established in partnership with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and UN Environment to support Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries with grant financing and technical assistance for the sustained collection and international exchange of surface-based weather and climate observations. The facility will help provide the foundation to all adaptation action by providing countries with the necessary weather science to take decisive action, and is foundational element of the UN Early Warnings for All initiative

UNDP is also a key partner of the global Risk-informed Early Action Partnership (REAP) -- launched at the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019, with the aim of making 1 billion people safer from disaster by 2025 – and a member of the global Alliance for Hydromet Development, comprised of major international development, humanitarian and climate finance institutions, committed to scaling up and uniting efforts to close the hydromet capacity gap by 2030.

Under REAP, UNDP has initiated a climate information and early action early warning programme for the Southern African Development Community in partnership with World Food Programme, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), WMO and United Nations University. The program aims to mobilize resources from the Green Climate Fund for a multi-country programme that will strengthen the capacity of countries to forecast and better respond to climate-induced disasters. The focus is on the last mile, ensuring the full involvement of communities.

At the same time, UNDP continues to support individual countries to access climate finance for improving their early warning systems and hydromet services, including from the Global Environment Facility (Least Developed Countries Fund, Special Climate Change Fund, and Adaptation Fund), Green Climate Fund, and bilateral and multilateral donors.

For more information on UNDP’s work in climate information and early warning systems, visit https://www.adaptation-undp.org/climate-information-and-early-warning-systems

Media contact

Dylan Lowthian, Head of Media, UNDP - dylan.lowthian@undp.org