Early Warning and Anticipatory Action

The Bulletin focusses on “Early warning and anticipatory action” with articles on harnessing technology and services, risk to resilience, the Global Multi-hazard Alert System, the WMO-UNDRR Centre of Excellence and on gender equality in the context of disaster risk reduction. Over the past 50 years (1970–2019), a weather, climate or water-related disaster has occurred on average almost every day – taking the lives 115 people and causing US$ 202 million in losses daily. The number of recorded disasters increased by a factor of five over that 50-year period, driven by human-induced climate change, more extreme weather events and improved reporting. Thanks to better warnings, the number of lives lost decreased almost three-fold over the same period because of better weather forecasts and proactive and coordinated disaster management. Early Warning Systems provide more than a tenfold return on investment, a 24-hour warning of a coming storm or heatwave can cut the ensuing damage by 30%. Spending US$ 800 million on such systems in developing countries would avoid losses of US$ 3–US$ 16 billion per year. And yet, despite these known great benefits, one in three people globally is still not covered by early warning services – that proportion is almost twice as high in Africa. Vulnerable people are disproportionately affected.