In a remarkable stride towards climate action, the launch of the EW4ALL Action Plan in Africa gained momentum as 11 government ministers from African countries expressed unyielding commitment and support for its implementation.
The commitment was declared during a high-level round table ministerial forum at the recently concluded 28th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP 28). During this forum, these ministers outlined strategic activities poised to initiate the implementation of the Africa Action Plan, providing a comprehensive roadmap for integrating EW4ALL initiatives in their respective countries and across the continent.
The full implementation of this initiative across Africa is designed to strengthen early warning systems and have everyone on the continent covered by the early warning, ensuring that timely and accurate information about hydrometeorological hazards and impending disasters reaches all segments of society, especially the most vulnerable population.
Present at the Roundtable are the UNDRR, WMO, ITU and IFRC representatives, the lead Agencies for EW4ALL. On the occasion, the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization, Prof. Petteri Taalas, recalled that “out of the 30 initial Countries, 13 are in Africa as part of the first bunch of countries to benefit from EW4All initiative, pointing out that the provision of weather, water and climate-related services and including issuing of warnings is a national mandate’. He called on Governments to strengthen these services, ensuring a collaborative, sustained implementation of Early Warning Services.
In his message to the High-level Roundtable Ministerial Forum, the President of the Republic of Kenya, HE Dr William Ruto (WMO designated champion for the EW4All initiative in Africa), said, ‘The African region stands out as one of the most susceptible to climate change and is in crucial need for partnerships and investments to support the initiative’. He appealed to his peers and fellow Heads of State on the continent and elsewhere to join hands to ensure the EW4All initiative becomes a reality.
The Minister of Mozambique for Transport and Communications, Hon Matthew Magala, speaking on behalf of the country that is a beneficiary of the initial batch for EW4All, noted that the “government of Mozambique is currently undertaking key activities to ensure the successful implementation of the African Action Plan’. The activities include Integration and collaboration of national institutions. Promotion of the leadership role of government. Development of a national action plan for early warning and resource mobilization.
His counterpart from the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr. Selemani Jafo, said under the Leadership of HE, Dr. Samia Suluhu Hassan, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, has prioritized strengthening climate Services and the Early Warning System in Tanzania. The government has set a budget for enhancing meteorological infrastructure in the country, including procurement of weather Radars to improve the country’s Early Warning Systems. Three weather radars have been procured and are operational, and four more radars will be installed in Tanzania by 2024. – He thanked WMO and all partners for contributing to support the enhancement of climate services in the region, including capacity-building initiatives. He indicated Tanzania’s support for implementing Africa’s Early Warning for All Action Plan.
Burkina Faso Minister of Environment, Green Economy, and Climate Change, H.E Siméon Sawadogo, expressing support of the country for the initiative, said Burkina Faso has established a National Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation Council, commonly known as CONASUR, whose responsibilities take into account pillar 4, “Preparation and intervention capacities”. CONASUR, according to the Minister, includes representatives from all ministerial departments. It is present in the 13 administrative regions of the country. Other institutions, such as the National Meteorological Agency (ANAM) and the General Directorate of Water Resources (DGRE), intervene in Pillar 2, “Detection, Observations, monitoring, analysis and Forecasts,” and Pillar 3, “Warning and Dissemination Communication”. He said Burkina Faso supports the implementation of Africa’s Early Warning for All Action Plan.
Zambia Minister of Green Economy and Environment, Hon Colins Nzovu, said that before Africa realizes the benefits and outcomes, there is a need for more support and investment from the global community (EW4All in Africa). Financial, technical, and capacity-building assistance are crucial for the success of this initiative. EW4All is not just a cost-effective solution but a sustainable one. Supporting the Initiative the the Ministers said Zambia aligns with the goals of the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Sustainable Development Goals, contributing to our collective efforts to build a more resilient and sustainable world. He affirms Zambia’s support of the Africa Action Plan.
Madagascar’s Minister of Transport and Meteorology, H. E. Valery Manambahoaka Ramonjavelo, also said the country is delighted that Madagascar is one of the first countries to have an action plan on early warning for 2024-2027. It shows the total commitment of the Malagasy State and the United Nations System in Madagascar to domesticate this global initiative. , to achieve and sustain the coordination and complementarity of Warning Systems in Madagascar. he emphasized that the national action plan was designed in the spirit of three fundamental principles, namely “leaving no one behind”, the principle of inclusion and sustainability. This new commitment reinforces previous commitments already made at the country level regarding early warning systems, particularly through law 2015-031 relating to the National Policy for Risk and Disaster Management. He reiterated that Madagascar Supports the Africa Action Plan on Early Warning for All.
In the words of the Ethiopian Minister of Water and Energy, H.E Dr. Eng. Habana Itefa, ‘Climate change has accelerated the onslaught of natural hazards, and Ethiopia is particularly vulnerable. Early Warning Systems are a proven, practical, and feasible disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation measure that saves lives and provides a tenfold return on investment. Yet, significant gaps in early warning systems remain globally, especially when translating early warnings into risk-informed early action. In its support of the EW4ALL initiative, the government of Ethiopia has adopted, among others, the implementation of elements in the action plans, such as data collection on metrology stations with more than 300 automatic stations acknowledged by WMO and other development partners and more than 1000 manual-based station, basic infrastructures, like telecom, 4G to 5G, Local Cloud and Server from Ethiotelecom and government’s commitment to establishing national council called, National Risk Management Council.
Also speaking at the Forum, the Malawian Minister of Water and Sanitation, H.E Abida Mia,said, “Malawi supports early warning for all initiatives, and this is asserted by the President of the Republic of Malawi, who took part during the launch of the WMO Implementation Plan at COP27 at Sharm el-Sheikh. This shows how Malawi is committed to the implementation of the agenda. With this political will, Malawi has started implementing the agenda by taking stock of the early warning system. The analysis covers the value chain of the four pillars of early warning (Disaster risk knowledge; Detection, observation, monitoring, analysis and forecasting of hazards; Warning dissemination and communication; and Preparedness and response capabilities).
Other countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana, Eswatini, Burundi, Mauritania, Gabon, Uganda, Guinea, Comoros, Chad, Liberia, Zimbabwe and Sudan expressed the support of their Governments for the implementation of the EW4ALL initiative in Africa and their countries.