The Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative has donated an additional US$1m to support the Strengthening Hydro-Meteorological and Early Warning Services in the Caribbean (SHEWSC) project, which will be implemented by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) in 2022.
CREWS is a mechanism that provides financial support to least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS) to establish risk-informed early warning services (EWS), implemented by three partners, based on clear operational procedures.
The SHEWSC project aims to strengthen EWS in the Caribbean and to articulate the response capacity of individuals, institutions and communities through the development of a regional strategy to strengthen and streamline early warning and hydrometeorological services. This includes developing appropriate approaches to risk-informed decision making for EWS, identifying gaps in risk assessment at regional and national levels, and evaluating the resilience of existing infrastructure such as forecasting centers, shelters, and national meteorological and hydrological services (NMHS). The project will also examine opportunities for building partnerships with the private sector and assess socio-economic benefits to ensure the sustainability of investments and activities.
This project aligns with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 and focuses on the implementation of target G, which aims to ‘substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to people by 2030’. The Sendai 7 campaign of the 2022 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction will focus on this same target. Ensuring access to multi-hazard early warning systems in the Caribbean is regarded as a tool that enables individuals, communities, governments, businesses and other stakeholders to take timely action to reduce disaster risk in advance of hazardous events.
This is also a matter of urgency, as disclosed in the Regional Assessment Report on Disaster Risk in Latin America and the Caribbean (RAR21), published last year: ‘In the short and medium term, the occurrence of new mega-disasters in the region is almost inevitable given the extreme risk embedded there. It is therefore urgent to strengthen corrective and reactive management capabilities, especially early warning systems, preparedness and response.’