The Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) East Africa Initiative, a four-year US$7m collaboration between the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the World Bank, has been launched in Kigali, Rwanda.
More than 60 representatives from the national meteorological and hydrological services (NMHSs) and national disaster management offices (NDMOs) of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda attended the launch day, discussing how they can 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.
In Rwanda, this includes the use of space data for agricultural monitoring, and the potential use of space observations to improve monitoring and support response systems. The knowledge and experience gained through the CREWS project will contribute to building strong early warning systems.
Muliro Mashauri, program management officer, UNDRR Regional Office for Africa, said, “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.”
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. 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.