WMO Checklist Helps Enhance Early Warning Systems
UN Photo/Logan Abassi
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The checklist addresses four elements of early warning systems: disaster risk knowledge; detection, monitoring, analysis and forecasting of hazards; warning dissemination and communication; and preparedness and response capabilities.

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for DRR Mami Mizutori urged countries to incorporate the checklist into national and local DRR strategies.

23 March 2018: Early warning, a critical component of disaster risk reduction (DRR), can prevent loss of life and reduce the economic impacts of hazardous events, including disasters, according to a multi-hazard early warning systems checklist developed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in partnership with the UN Office for DRR (UNISDR), UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and others.

Over the last thirty years, the number of lives lost from severe weather events has decreased largely because of increased accuracy of weather forecasting and warnings, and improved coordination with disaster management authorities.

Issued on World Meteorological Day on 23 March 2018, the report titled, ‘Multi-hazard Early Warning Systems: A Checklist,’ focuses on the need for community engagement and education, disaster preparedness and effective dissemination of warnings, all required for effective early warning. It incorporates the benefits of multi-hazard early warning systems, disaster risk information and enhanced risk assessments.

Early warning is reflected in the SDGs, particularly those related to food security, healthy lives, resilient cities, environmental management and climate change adaptation.

The checklist provides a list of actions that national governments, community organizations and partners can refer to when developing or evaluating early warning systems based on four main elements: disaster risk knowledge; detection, monitoring, analysis and forecasting of hazards and possible consequences; warning dissemination and communication; and preparedness and response capabilities. The document will be updated based on the development of technologies, advances in multi-hazard early warning systems and feedback from the users.

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for DRR Mami Mizutori urged countries to incorporate the checklist into national and local DRR strategies, which are scheduled to be in place by 2020 in accordance with target (e) of the Sendai Framework for DRR (substantially increase the number of countries with national and local DRR strategies by 2020). She said that a multi-hazard approach to early warnings is critical for building disaster resilience. WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said WMO is working to establish a global standardized multi-hazard alert system in collaboration with National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS).

Early warning is an important component of a number of international agreements. The Sendai Framework for DRR recognizes the benefits of multi-hazard early warning systems. The SDGs address early warning, particularly those related to food security (SDG 2), healthy lives (SDG 3), resilient cities (SDG 11) and climate change adaptation (SDG 13). The Paris Agreement on climate change also mentions early warning systems as a focus area to enhance adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience, reduce vulnerability, and minimize loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change.

An outcome of the first Multi-hazard Early Warning Conference that took place in May 2017 in Cancún, Mexico, the checklist updates the original document, ‘Developing Early Warning Systems: A Checklist,’ which emanated from the Third International Conference on Early Warning in March 2006. [Publication: Multi-hazard Early Warning Systems: A Checklist] [UNISDR Press Release]

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