Five Year programme to set up Early Warning Systems: WMO

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    • Recently, the World Meteorological Organisation unveiled a five-year programme to set up early warning systems across the world to save lives and minimise destruction from the growing number of climate disasters.
      • WMO is taking forward the initiative of the India-backed Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).    

    What is Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)?

    • The CDRI was launched by the Prime Minister of India during the United Nations Climate Action Summit in 2019 at New York.
    • It is a global partnership of National Governments, UN agencies and programmes, multilateral development banks and financing mechanisms, the private sector, academic and knowledge institutions.
    • It is working towards developing applications of climate forecast and early warning for reducing infrastructure losses and disruption in basic services. 
    • It had also come up with a similar plan, focused mainly at the small island states called Infrastructure for Resilient Island States.
      • It was not meant only for early warning systems, but most of the initial interest it had received from the small island states was regarding help in setting up these systems.

    About Early Warnings for All initiative    

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    • Funding 
      • The programme envisages an investment of $ 3.1 billion between 2023 and 2027.
    • Aim
      • It aims to create the infrastructure and build capacities in early warning systems.
      • It envisions a Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (MHEWS) alerting people about hazardous weather or climate events in advance. 
      • The plan will address key gaps in understanding disaster risk, monitoring and forecasting, rapid communication, and preparedness and response. 
    • Advisory Board
      • To ensure effective implementation, the UN Secretary-General is establishing an Advisory Board which will be co-chaired by the heads of WMO and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. 
    • Need of such an Initiative? 
      • Around 50 per cent of the world’s population is not protected by multi-hazard early warning systems. 
      • The need for early warning systems is urgent as the number of recorded disasters has increased five-fold, driven in part by human-induced climate change and more extreme weather. 
      • Nearly half the countries in the world, most of them least developed small island states; do not have any early warning systems.

    Drawbacks of not having Early warning system 

    • Poor countries at high risk: The people who have barely even contributed to the climate crisis are the most at risk and the least protected. ?
    • Vulnerable communities: in climate hotspots are being blindsided by cascading climate disasters without any means of prior alert.
    • Disaster bigger than war: People in Africa, South Asia, South and Central America, and the inhabitants of small island states are 15 times more likely to die from climate disasters.  
      • These disasters displace three times more people than war.
    • Disaster mortality: Countries with limited early warning coverage have disaster mortality eight times higher than countries with high coverage. ?

    Significance of Early Warning System

    • Early warnings save lives and provide vast economic benefits: just 24 hours notice of an impending hazardous event can cut the ensuing damage by 30 per cent. 
    • The Global Commission on Adaptation had found that spending about $ 800 million on early warning systems could avoid losses up to $ 3-16 billion every year.
    • The number of lives lost has been minimised being limited to 100 due to tropical cyclones during the last 10 years in India and also in all the countries in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea region.

    Way forward

    • Even though early warning systems save lives, vulnerable communities have no way of knowing that hazardous weather is on its way.
    • When it comes to climate change adaptation, early warning systems are widely regarded as the low-hanging fruit because they are a relatively cheap and effective way of protecting people and assets

    India’s early warning system

    • India has worked to improve early warning systems for all hydro-meteorological events, and installed early warning systems across its east and west coasts.
    • India has reduced mortality from cyclones by up to 90 per cent over the last 15 years.
    • The cyclone warning division (CWD) at India’s meteorological department also acts as a multilateral regional specialised meteorological centre for other countries in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
    • India is committed towards clean and green energy sources and the National Hydrogen Mission is a leap in that direction.  

    Source: IE