CREWS: Climate Risk & Early Warning Systems

From 2000 to 2019, a total of 7,348 major climate disasters were recorded. They caused 1.23 million casualties and affected 4.2 billion people. In poor and vulnerable countries, weather data to help anticipate these phenomena and warn people are often unreliable or totally lacking.

To better warn and inform about risks of dangerous weather and climate events, France launched the multi-donor initiative CREWS at COP21. Its aim is to protect lives, livelihoods and assets in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) by significantly improving integrated multi-risk warning systems.

With climate change, extreme natural phenomena are increasing

From 2000 to 2019, 7,348 major disasters were recorded, causing 1.23 million casualties and affecting 4.2 billion people, resulting in global economic losses of approximately $2.970 trillion.

This is a huge increase compared with disasters recorded in the 20 previous years.

Some 91% of these disasters were due to floods, storms, droughts, heatwaves and other extreme climate events.

The successive reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirm that the frequency and scale of these climate events are rising, increasing the threat to human lives and livelihoods, particularly in vulnerable countries. Economic losses due to global warming almost doubled across the periods 1980-1999 and 2000-2019.

With this in mind, at the third Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, in March 2015, the United Nations committed to “substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to people by 2030” and developed a framework for action, the Sendai Framework.

In vulnerable countries, early warning systems to protect people and property are insufficient.

Countries that have succeeded in establishing early warning systems have seen their disaster-related deaths drop dramatically. However, capacities for implementing these types of systems vary greatly. The Least Developed Countries (LDC) and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have the most problems providing critical alerts for national and local authorities and populations.

Many vulnerable countries highlight the need to consolidate warning systems by enhancing their weather forecasting systems while improving their disaster plans and operations. In their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), which embody their commitments to reduce their national emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change, these countries defined an early warning system (EWS) as a priority.

Bringing together countries and organizations specialized in meteorology and risk prevention

CREWS implements national and regional projects with the assistance of three specialized agencies:

  • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is consolidating its global and regional capacity-building centres and supports the coordination and coherence of actions undertaken with the national initiatives.
  • The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) ensures the coherence of policies and conformity with the United Nations plan of action and the targets of the Sendai Framework.
  • The World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) supports the identification, design and implementation of support for large-scale national programmes, as well as the coordination and integration of these programmes with regional and global centres.

What are the partners’ commitments?

CREWS aims to leverage $100 million to respond to the financing shortfalls in existing bilateral and multilateral cooperation programmes. A trust fund managed by the World Bank supports the organizations and implementing institutions in their activities.

More information on the website of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

The CREWS 2020 Annual Report highlights the results achieved in the course of this year’s operations in more than fifty countries, through 14 national and regional projects. Download the 2020 Activity Report

More information: www.CREWS-Initiative.org

Last updated on: 5 November 2021