The Second Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-II)
13 - 14 May 2019, Geneva, Switzerland
• The International Network for Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (IN-MHEWS)
• The 2019 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GP2019)
Organized by the International Network for Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (IN-MHEWS), in conjunction with the 2019 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, MHEWC-II aims to demonstrate how the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning and risk information can be improved.
Its purpose is to highlight the role that national governance plays in implementing and sustaining multi-hazard early warning systems.
1. About the Second Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-II)
About the Second Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-II)
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 was adopted by 187 United Nations (UN) Member States on 18 March 2015, at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan, and endorsed by the UN General Assembly in June 2015, with the expected outcome of a “substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries” over the following 15 years.
During the negotiations, countries and partners highlighted the need to:
1. Continue to invest in, develop, maintain and strengthen people-centred, end-to-end early warning systems;
2. Promote the application of simple and low cost early warning equipment and facilities;
3. Broaden the dissemination channels for early warning information to facilitate early action.
Countries also called for the further development of and investment in effective, nationally compatible, regional multi-hazard early warning mechanisms. To address these needs, global Target (g) of the Sendai Framework was adopted, namely to “substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030”.
International recognition of the importance of, and investing in, early warning systems was also reflected in both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” and SDG 13 “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts” set targets for governments to strengthen early warning systems. The Paris Climate Agreement, Article 7 on enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change” and Article 8 on loss and damage also place greater emphasis on strengthening early warning systems.
Read more: MHEWC-II Concept Note - March 2019
With the goal of continuing to advocate for the implementation and improvement of multi-hazard early warning systems worldwide, the objectives of the MHEWC-II are to:
1. Highlight and advocate for:
• A comprehensive multi-hazard approach to early warning governance that is based on effective national legislation, and regulatory framework, institutional partnerships, that benefit from regional and global support mechanisms and encompasses urban and rural populations, women and men, older people and youth, people with disabilities, etc.;
• Regulatory frameworks and policies;
• The development, access and use of the best science and new technologies to underpin all components of an multi-hazard early warning systems;
• Co-design of early warning systems and the generation and use of sound risk information and advisory and warning messages tailored to the different needs of specific groups, including mechanisms to integrate local and indigenous knowledge and to provide feedback learning for system improvement;
• Learning from good practices in early warning, including in those areas such as monitoring, forecasting and risk communication that leverage the latest technologies and standards (e.g. communication and information technologies, mobile phone solutions, social media, standards such as the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) for all hazards alerting);
• Strengthening the Early Warning/ Early Action (EWEA) chain, taking on an impact-based forecasting approach in early warning to enable organizations and communities to formulate understandable and actionable messages and take respective preparedness and response measures.
2. Take stock of the progress made by governments with:
• Integrating/synergizing single-hazard early warning systems in their country toward a more comprehensive multi-hazard approach;
• Implementing the Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems: A Checklist as a standard framework, adopting system-based thinking;
• Engaging the private sector and the civil society as partners in the operation of multi-hazard early warning systems as a way to ensure their long-term sustainability.
• Reporting on/Achieving Target (g) of the Sendai Framework and related approaches and challenges, using the Sendai Framework Monitor and guided by the Technical Guidance for Monitoring and Reporting on Progress in Achieving the Global Targets of the Sendai Framework;
• Assessing the effectiveness of multi-hazard early warning systems and the return on investment;
• Requirements and challenges that governments have in the development and implementation of people-centred, end-to-end and multi-hazard early warning systems (including capturing cascading effects of hazards/disasters) that ensure interoperability with local to national scales as well as transboundary regional scales;
• Opportunities and current limitations for trans-disciplinary research (e.g. new developments in the area of socio-hydrology) to progress in the development of observation and monitoring systems, the use of Big Data, including satellite-based data, data-driven modelling and the strengthening of capacities to leverage the latest information and communication technology (e.g. social media) particularly for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Land-locked Developing Countries (LLDCs);
• How governments finance the implementation or strengthening of multi-hazard early warning systems as a way to reach Target (g) of the Sendai Framework;
• Policy-relevant advice on incorporation of multi-hazard early warning systems concepts into national and local disaster risk reduction strategies to contribute to the implementation of Target (e) of the Sendai Framework.
1. ernational Network for Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (IN-MHEWS)
The International Network for Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (IN-MHEWS)
Despite significant progress in strengthening early warning systems across the world, often by making use of advances in science and technology, unmet needs remain. Disasters are increasing in frequency and severity in most areas, with climate change and variability exacerbating the situation. Many developing countries, in particular least developed countries (LDCs), small island developing states (SIDS), and landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) , have not benefited as much as they could have from advances in the science, technology and governance behind early warning systems. Significant gaps remain, especially in reaching the "last mile" - the most remote and vulnerable populations at the community level with timely, understandable and actionable warning information), including lack of capacities to make use of the information. The resulting societal benefits of early warning systems have thus been spread unevenly across regions, countries and communities.
The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretariat, along with other international and national agencies, established the International Network for Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (IN-MHEWS) as a major outcome of the Session on Early Warning at the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan, in 2015. This multi-stakeholder partnership will facilitate the sharing of expertise and good practice on strengthening multi-hazard early warning systems as an integral component of national strategies for disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and building resilience. In doing so, it will support the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, especially the achievement of its global target G on multi-hazard early warning systems, and the United Nations Plan of Action on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience.
The International Network for Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (IN-MHEWS) and
Previous Conferences on Early Warning
In order to contribute especially to the achievement of Target (g) of the Sendai Framework, several international and regional organizations as well as national institutions with a key role in early warning joined forces and established the International Network for Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (IN-MHEWS) during the WCDRR in March 2015. IN-MHEWS aims to facilitate the sharing of expertise and good practice for multi-hazard early warning systems as a national strategy for disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and building resilience. In addition, it aims to guide and advocate the implementation and/or improvement of multi-hazard early warning systems, share lessons learnt regarding early warning and increase the efficiency of investments in such systems for enhanced societal resilience.
To continue its advocacy efforts, IN-MHEWS is organizing this Second Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-II) on 13 and 14 May 2019, as a pre-event to the sixth session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GP2019) which will take place from 15 to 17 May in Geneva, Switzerland. The MHEWC-II will be held at the Headquarters of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva and is aligned with the guiding principles of the GP2019, building on the momentum created by the First Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-I): Saving Lives, Reducing Losses in 2017. As part of its activities, IN-MHEWS organized the MHEWC-I as a pre-event of the fifth fession of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2017 (GP2017). This Conference, held in Cancún, Mexico, on 22 and 23 May 2017, brought together more than 450 experts and stakeholders to take stock of recent advances in multi-hazard early warning systems. The key outcome is the publication Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems: A Checklist.
In 1998, 2003 and 2006, three international conferences on early warning took place (apart from other, hazard- and region-specific conferences and symposia on early warning). The German Federal Foreign Office organized the First International Conference on Early Warning (EWC '98) in Potsdam, Germany in collaboration with the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. This Conference produced a round-up of existing systems and structures in the fields of early warning and disaster reduction with a focus was on research and science. The Second International Conference on Early Warning (EWC-II) in Bonn, Germany, in 2003 focused on the integration of early warning into policy and decision making and demonstrated the importance of regular and intensive exchange between science and policy for effective early warning. The major objectives of the Third International Conference on Early Warning (EWC-III) in Bonn, Germany, in 2006 were to showcase innovative early warning projects for potential financial support and implementation; to identify unused potential in early warning; and to facilitate multi-disciplinary scientific debate on latest practices and research. EWC-III centred around the theme “from concept to action” and was an initiative of the German Government in response to the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami in December 2004 to underscore the urgent need to develop early warning systems worldwide. Conference delegates were presented with key recommendations from the Global Survey of Early Warning Systems, a report requested by the United Nations Secretary-General at the time, Kofi Annan. This Survey stressed the importance of filling gaps and improving early warning capabilities worldwide, with a focus on people-centred systems. A key outcome of the EWC-III was the publication Developing Early Warning Systems: A Checklist.
The IN-MHEWS Steering Committee serves as the MHEWC-II Organizing Committee, as it did for the MHEWC-I. It is currently composed of the following organizations: FAO, IAEA, IOC-UNESCO, ITU, UNDP, UNESCAP, UNESCO, UNISDR, UNITAR/UNOSAT, UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER, WFP, WHO, WMO, CREWS, World Bank/GFDRR, EU (EC/JRC), IFRC/Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, ISC/IRDR and in 2018/19 co-chaired by UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER and WMO.
Further contributors to the organization of the MHEWC-II include Practical Action, the Water Youth Network, the UK Met Office, the Netherlands Red Cross (Rode Kruis), GIZ, and Tonkin & Taylor Int.
The implementation of the Sendai Framework will require collaboration of policy-makers, practitioners and researchers from all geographical regions and from local, national, regional and international levels to identify knowledge gaps, co-design and co-produce knowledge, and make science and technology more readily available and accessible to support practical disaster risk reduction. The target audience therefore comprises representatives from:
• All countries those who stand to benefit the most from further development of multi-hazard early warning systems such as LDC, SIDS and LLDC;
• Government representatives from National Disaster Risk Management or Civil Protection Agencies, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), Geological Surveys or Institutes and different sectors including health, environment, agriculture, infrastructures, development, etc.;
• Key intergovernmental and international organizations, including regional organizations;
• Other donors;
• Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs);
• The media;
• Private Sector entities that play a major role in the provision of data and information and the operations of many systems that are key to the multi-hazards early warning efforts.
Registration for the MHEWC-II was via the registration for the 2019 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GP2019) that is all those interested in the MHEWC-II need to also be registered for the GP2019 (regardless whether they actually participate in the GP2019). While registrations for the GP2019 are still being accepted, the deadline for expressions of interest in the MHEWC-II has now passed. The MHEWC-II organizers will try to accommodate as many interested persons as possible, in addition to specifically invited/nominated participants. However, due to the tremendous number of expressions of interests received and the limited capacity of the Conference venue, a selection process is being set up that will take into account gender and regional balance, adequate representation of young professionals and key disciplines and organizations, etc. Successful participants will be notified by the end of April 2019. A webcast (with possibilities to interact via an App) will be available for the interested public. For any questions please contact email@example.com.
• Venue & Transportation
• Accommodation (please refer to the Practical Information Page of the GP2019)
The expected outcomes of the Second Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-II) will need to highlight strategies and actions to build, promote and strengthen multi-hazard early warning systems, especially how to address key gaps such as faster and broader dissemination of warnings and the quality of the information provided to the ‘last mile’, at risk communities or affected populations, through capacity development and operational support.
A first and immediate outcome will be an input to a variety of sessions of the Sixth Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GP2019), especially its Working Session on Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems as well as the High-level Dialogues and Ministerial Roundtables, to be reflected in the Chairperson’s Summary of the GP2019 and its proceedings. This will be reflected in a MHEWC-II Statement/Declaration.
Furthermore, a dedicated outcome document will be produced in the months following the Conference, based on its outcomes, including a set of recommendations that could be achieved by countries before the next Conference (MHEWC-III). It is hoped that such a document will also influence investments in multi-hazard early warning systems and programming of development partners, donors and the private sector as well as the Science and Technology Roadmap to support the implementation of the Sendai Framework.
The proceedings of the MHEWC-II and/or selected papers and session summaries will also be published. Technical issue briefs will be available for selected MHEWC-II sessions and from the GP2019 Working Session on Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems to provide further information on the specific topics. Lastly, from the inputs into the MHEWC-II, an online, categorized “good practice and lessons learnt repository” will be created, adding to those compiled from the MHEWC-I.
• MHEWC-II Statement/Declaration (PDF - to come)
• MHEWC-II Proceedings (PDF - to come)
• Guidance document on implementing and sustaining multi-hazard early warning systems (PDF - to come)
Outcome documents, presentations and recordings of the First Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-I), 22-23 May 2017, Cancún, Mexico:
• WMO Communiqué of the MHEWC-I Cancun, Mexico34.23 KB
• Multi-hazard Early Warning Systems: A Checklist
• Consultation Document on Measuring Early Warning Access and Effectiveness
• Posters and synthesis
• Presentations & recordings
• Media & related resources
MEDIA ADVISORY – MULTI-HAZARD EARLY WARNING CONFERENCE, WMO Headquarters 13-14 MAY 2019
Climate change, extreme weather, population increase and urbanization means that growing numbers of people are vulnerable to hazards such as tropical cyclones, floods and extreme heat. Improved early warning systems and more coordinated disaster risk reduction are more important than ever before.
An international conference will therefore seek to inject new urgency into the drive to improve warnings for an interlocking range of hazards and to translate these warnings into effective action on the ground.
The Second Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference takes place in Geneva, Switzerland, on 13-14 May. It is organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and a consortium of international partners. It follows an inaugural conference in 2017 and feeds into the 2019 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The conference takes place as two unprecedented back-to-back tropical cyclones in Mozambique and a major cyclonic storm in India underline, yet again, the need for coordinated disaster risk reduction strategies, including strong early warning systems which reach the people who need them most.
The conference, which takes place at WMO headquarters, will examine recentadvances in multi-hazard early warning systems and future priorities.
Conference themes include:
• Ensuring that warnings reach the last mile
• Translating early warnings into early action
• Science, technology and innovation
• Socio-economic benefits
• Governance issues
The sessions are open to all accredited journalists.
Hashtags #EarlyWarning #GP2019Geneva
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