Launching of CREWS Greater Horn of Africa: Strengthening early warning and early action systems for meteorological, hydrological, and climate extremes
The Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative launched the "Greater Horn of Africa: Strengthening early warning and early action systems for meteorological, hydrological, and climate extremes" project, which will be implemented regionally and in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan, by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and the World Bank.
The project aims to enhance the capacities of regional and national entities to produce and use climate, weather, and hydrological services, including early warning systems. It will support regional activities and also provide support to the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan through technical assistance, building upon and leveraging the ongoing and pipeline investment projects implemented/financed by the UNDRR, WMO, and World Bank.
These services are needed more than ever, as the Horn of Africa is increasingly threatened by climate hazards and extreme weather. Right now, millions of people face a humanitarian crisis because of several years of below-average rainfall and failing crops, as the region is being ravaged by the worst drought in four decades. At the same time, the region has also been struck by damaging floods, that have destroyed crops, washed away infrastructure, and killed vulnerable people.
In Somalia, the UNDRR Regional Office for Arab States (ROAS) has already initiated a project to enhance the effort of disaster risk reduction. The UNDRR ROAS project in Somalia aims to improve the governance, understanding of risks, and the capacity to address disaster risks at national and local levels to better prepare for and respond to disasters, reduce vulnerabilities, loss of life, and economic damages. It comes to revise and update the National Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy impact in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Arab Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction; in addition, to develop a multi-hazard early warning feasibility study and a local disaster risk reduction and resilience action plans in one pilot city.
Till now, together with partners, UNDRR ROAS has organized multiple workshops that introduced the functionality of Sendai Framework Monitor and DesInventar-Sendai, as well as the guidelines for developing national disaster risk reduction strategies and national disaster risk reduction platforms. Furthermore, under the umbrella of supporting the strengthening of disaster risk reduction implementation at the local level, UNDRR ROAS has organized capacity-building workshops on the Sendai Framework and the essentials for Making Cities Resilient.
In parallel, the UNDRR ROAS works on developing a multi-hazard risk profile in Sudan that underlines risk factors across major sectors and the most vulnerable areas. Furthermore, UNDRR ROAS has developed a scoping paper for probabilistic risk assessment. The objective of this initiative is to strengthen Sudan's capacity to systematically account for disaster losses, identify hazards, and develop risk assessments. The UNDRR ROAS collaborated with the government to identify the problem, the need to perform risk assessments, and how these results can increase overall disaster resilience.
The CREWS Greater Horn of Africa project's regional activities will be centered around improving regional services to support countries to provide effective early warning systems (EWS) and strengthening regional coordination and cooperation for effective EWS and climate services. In Ethiopia, activities will support ensuring early actions and developing demand-driven climate and early warning information services. In Somalia, activities will focus on developing and delivering priority public hydromet services, and institutional development. As for Sudan, activities will focus on strengthening community involvement in EWS and strengthening flood early warning services.
The project launching event brought together representatives of the regional partners (ICPAC, ENTRO, and Red Cross), national stakeholders (national meteorological and hydrological services as well as disaster risk management authorities in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan), the implementing partners (UNDRR, WMO, and World Bank), and regional stakeholders.
The project is supported under the CREWS Initiative, a mechanism that funds Least Developed Countries (LDC) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to increase the availability of, and access to, early warning systems.