Heeding the call for ‘Early Warnings For All’, African Multi-Hazard Advisory Centre Established in Niger
In March 2022, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, announced the UN would spearhead new action to ensure every person on Earth is protected by early warning systems within five years. The World Meteorological Organization was tasked to lead this effort and present an action plan to achieve the goal at the UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, COP27.
In line with the ‘Early Warnings for All Initiative’, the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD) African Multi-Hazard Advisory Centre was inaugurated on 31 October 2022.
To celebrate, a ribbon cutting ceremony and high-level dialogue day took place in Niamey, Niger coinciding with ACMAD’s “The state of climate for Africa in 2021 and outlook: impacts, future trends and early warning systems to build resilience,”’ focused on climate trends, their impacts and the role the new advisory centre will play.
Niger’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Hassoumi Massoudou gave remarks, along with Italian Ambassador to Niger Emilia Gatto, Deputy Chief, UNDRR-Africa Luca Rossi, the Chair of ACMAD Professor Matazu Bako, and CIMA Foundation President Luca Ferraris.
Impact-based Multi Hazards Early Warning and Early Action Systems are essential for people to prepare and act early in case of disasters. The new Centre was established at ACMAD to be connected to the situation rooms established within the Africa Road Map for Early Warning and Early Action, including in the Context of Transboundary Risk Management, which already includes the situation rooms at the AUC in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and at ICPAC, in Nairobi, Kenya. The ACMAD centre will further enhance the continental capacity to generate regular continental hazards and disaster situation reports, continental climate trends and impacts as well as impact-based advisories and watches. The capacity established with the situation room builds on and maximizes the value of results achieved by the intra-ACP Climate Services and Related Applications Programe (CLIMSA), funded by the European Union, making data, information and products generated by the initiative available for Multi-Hazard Impact-Based Early Warning System for Early Action.
Essentially, it will reduce the population’s vulnerability to hazards by enhancing preparedness. It will support National Meteorological Services and other national stakeholders during hazard seasons to deliver warnings and support well-informed preparation and response actions. In the Sahel region the situation room will complement the work on risk profiles and inform national and regional strategies and early actions for food security, and accordingly contribute to analysis related to disaster displacement and conflicts.
The Continental Multi Hazard Advisory Centre is now officially launched as a component of the African Multi Hazards Early Warning System for Early Action. It was made possible with support from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international Cooperation, along with the Italian Agency for International Cooperation, political leadership of the African Union and technical guidance and support from UNDRR and the CIMA Foundation.
The event was also an opportunity to increase visibility and strengthen communication on the climate change and disaster risk reduction activities at ACMAD supporting implementation of WMO global programmes in Africa.