“Disasters remind us that we are all citizens of the world, whether we like it or not,”, These words reverberated by Mia Mottley at the first regional launch of the UN's Early Warnings for All (EW4ALL) initiative in Barbados, aiming to bring multi-hazard early warning systems to all by 2027. SIDS have long been disproportionately affected by extreme weather events, which have been compounded by the ‘Triple-C’ crisis, economic constraints, and the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme climate events, diminishing capacity for recovery between incidence. The 2021 hurricane season in the Caribbean was the fourth costliest on record. Despite this, only one-third of SIDS have multi-hazard early warning systems, which can cut economic damage by 30 percent with only 24-hours notice. In this respect, the launch of EWALL supports the nearly 90 percent of SIDS that have prioritized the implementation of early warning systems in their NDCs.
Unlike traditional early warning systems, multi-hazard early warning systems can address multiple climate-induced disasters that can occur simultaneously in SIDS, such as droughts, heatwaves, cold waves, and diseases. Supporting adaptive action to maintain community health, ensure clean water access, and secure agri-food systems across SIDS, where agricultural and livestock losses totaled $8.7 billion from 2008 to 2018. For all these reasons and more, the EW4ALL will be discussed at the upcoming UN 2023 Water Conference.
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative have incorporated EW4ALL into existing continuing disaster risk management plans. Already, flood-integrated early warning systems are being developed for Jamaica and Saint Lucia, and a multi-sensor precipitation grid prototype has been developed for Barbados, Martinique, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Utilizing both environmental and digital solutions can significantly minimize the effects of extreme weather events and improve SIDS’ resilience. Integrating digital innovations with nature-based solutions, such as coastal restoration, mangrove conservation, and reforestation, can offer cost-effective and innovative approaches to strengthen sustainable development.
Read the full bulletin here.