Message from Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed for the regional launch of the early warnings for all initiative for the Caribbean
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
While I wish I could be with you in person, I am delighted to send this message for the first regional launch of the Early Warnings for All initiative.
I thank Barbados, CARICOM and the Caribbean Disaster Management Agency for hosting and organizing this event.
I especially want to thank Prime Minister of Barbados, the Honorable Mia Mottley, and Prime Minister of St Lucia, the Honorable Philip Pierre, for their leadership and support.
Today, we carry a clear message:
Every person in the Caribbean, in Small Island Developing States, and the world, must be protected by an effective, multi-hazard early warning system.
This is not a privilege, but a right that every person on earth should enjoy.
That is why the Secretary-General has launched the Early Warnings for All initiative, with a goal to reach universal early warning systems coverage by 2027.
Early warning systems save lives, protect livelihoods and deliver huge economic and social benefits.
Just 24 hour’s notice of an impending hazardous event can cut damage by 30 per cent.
Yet, vulnerable communities around the world have no way of knowing that hazardous weather is on its way.
Nor do they have the means to act to save lives and livelihoods.
Every third person in the world, primarily in Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries, is not covered by multi-hazard early warning systems.
60% of the African population is not covered.
Even less have local disaster preparedness plans.
Countries with limited early warning coverage have disaster mortality rates that are eight times higher than countries with high coverage.
Families and communities have a right to be warned of incoming hazards and to protect lives, livelihoods and other assets.
This is especially true for the Caribbean, which suffers from the largest natural disasters relative to its size.
Due to the effects of climate change, we know that climate and other natural disasters are set to increase, exposing Small Island Developing States to greater vulnerabilities.
To provide early warning systems for all within the next five years, the United Nations system, governments and partners must work together to address gaps across the four key pillars of early warning systems:
Understanding disaster risk.
Monitoring and forecasting.
And preparedness and response capacity.
This will require an initial investment of just $3.1 billion, but will save countless lives and economies.
I urge all governments, financial institutions and civil society to support this effort.