Around the same time each year, the Caribbean region experiences a cycle of hurricanes, which have evolved in strength and frequency in recent years due to climate change. For this reason, the region was chosen to launch an initiative for universal access to storm early warning, one of the most effective climate adaptation measures.
Less than half of the least developed countries and only a third of the small island developing states have multi-hazard early warning systems.
For this reason, UN Secretary-General António Guterres presented in November an early warning action plan for all initiatives, which should be completed between 2023 and 2027 and whose initial investment is around $3.1 billion.
Fulfilling that call, the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, and the Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Philip J. Pierre led efforts on Wednesday to follow up the initiative in the Caribbean.
life is not seen from speeches
“Disasters remind us that we are all citizens of the world, whether we like it or not,” said Motley, who hosted the initiative’s first regional launch in Barbados, calling on strong global partnerships and Called for civil society cooperation. ,
Motley, a well-known advocate of climate change, insisted that “life is not seen from speeches on a stage, but life is experienced daily (…) We are global citizens and everything is interconnected.” All we need to work together is level, have more strategic leadership. Disasters only speak one language: Destruction,
The event, held at the United Nations House, brought together regional leaders and key global officials in support of the threat early warning system.
“The Caribbean region is blessed with immense natural beauty, but it is also considered a global hotspot in terms of natural disasters,” Pierre said during a virtual speech. Second most disaster prone in the world,
In 2021, the Caribbean faced the fourth most severe hurricane season on record in the region’s history, with 21 storms, seven of which were hurricanes.
adaptation to climate change
The Prime Minister further said that early warning systems not only save lives, but also provide great economic benefits. “They are considered the low-hanging fruit for climate change adaptation, because they are relatively cheap compared to the cost of poor planning,” he observed.
however, Only 30% of the Caribbean is covered by an effective multi-hazard early warning system,
United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed gave a clear message through a video address that this must change.
it’s not a right it’s a privilege
“All peoples in the Caribbean, small island developing states and the world must be protected by an effective multi-hazard early warning system. It’s not a privilege, it’s a right which should be enjoyed by all the inhabitants of the earth,” he said.
The UN leader pointed out that the Early Warning for All initiative will seek to fill existing gaps in the four fundamental pillars of the early warning system:
- understanding disaster risk
- monitoring and forecasting
- Preparedness and Response Capacity
To achieve this, the UN intends to raise $3.1 billion.
Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, however, said Support must go beyond finance, “It’s also about transferring technology and experience,” he said, stressing the need for better data to guide implementation.
Mizutori said the Caribbean was ideal for the initiative’s first regional launch because of the strength of regional organizations such as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).
For her part, Carla Barnett, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), gave a recorded message in which she offered the multilateral organization’s support, describing the initiative as “The dominant adaptive response to the so far inability to limit global emissions at a level that keeps global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees of pre-industrial levels.”
The CARICOM official said the region is bearing the brunt of the effects of global warming and praised the leadership shown by Caribbean leaders in launching the implementation of the plan in the Caribbean.
,In St Vincent and the Grenadines we clearly saw the huge benefits of early warning La Soufriere faced several hazards prior to the eruption. Despite the massive damage to infrastructure, early warning and acting accordingly saved lives.”
The United Nations High Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Didier Trebuc, welcomed the launch of the initiative.
Trebuk highlighted that, fortunately, progress has been made in multi-hazard early warning systems in the Caribbean, but indicated that, although most countries lack the technical capability to monitor and predict hydrometeorological risks and launch related alerts Is, The case is quite different when analyzing existing capabilities for geological, biological and technological risks.,
Trebuk organized a roundtable during the event in which Mizutori participated together with Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); Peteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO); Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP); Gerard Howe, Chair of the Climate Risks and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; and CDM Youth Ambassador Shajuni Gumbs from St Kitts and Nevis.