Early Warnings for East Africa
On 12 June 2023, the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) East Africa Initiative, a four-year USD 7 million collaboration between UNDRR, the World Meteorological Organization, and the World Bank was launched in Kigali, Rwanda. Over 60 representatives from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Uganda participated. These representatives from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and National Disaster Management Offices (NDMOs), discussed their national needs and priorities in order to improve their early warning systems for floods, droughts, landslides, and other severe weather events.
Aligned with the UN Secretary General’s call to action for Early Warnings for All to ensure that people most at risk have universal access to weather advisories and warnings, the CREWS East Africa project will strengthen regional and national capacities in the six participating countries to provide impact-based, people-centered predictions and warnings that are specific to national and local contexts.
“I am glad that the launch of this project is taking place in Rwanda, a country that champions innovative initiatives", said UN Resident Coordinator for Rwanda, Dr. Ozonnia Ojielo.
In Rwanda, this includes the use of space data for agricultural monitoring, the potential use of space observations to improve monitoring, and to support the response systems - among others. The knowledge and experience that will be gained through the CREWS project will contribute to building strong early warning systems, while following the new trends and introducing new knowledge.
“Stronger collaboration between NMHSs and NDMOs, and across ministries, departments, and agencies, is essential. Strengthening national risk information ecosystems stands as a core element of this CREWS initiative, and UNDRR’s overall strategic priorities, “said Muliro Mashauri, Programme Management Officer, UNDRR Regional Office for Africa.
The launch was followed by a technical workshop for countries to update on EWS priorities and challenges. The initiative will help build a common understanding among government actors in each country about how climate change is leading to increased exposure, vulnerability, and loss and damage as a result of climate-driven hazards and shocks. , in the face of these risks, strengthening national early warning systems can better protect people and safeguard hard-won development gains. The CREWS initiative aims to ensure that weather advisories and warnings are easily understood and tailored to diverse audiences to help people to take early and anticipatory action.