Advances in forecasting and technology promise more effective early warning systems for natural hazards. What stands between disaster alert and action, and how can the impact of early warning tools be enhanced?
Displaying 1-3 of 3 key documents
Source: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies | 2009
The 2009 edition of the World Disasters Report, published annually by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, focuses on early warning systems and the potential for such systems to inform early action as crucial aspects of disaster risk reduction.
The report stresses the need to recognise early warning not just as a technology, but as a system; it also stresses the need for a "people-centred" approach to these systems. This approach suggests that communities at risk of disaster have high levels of understanding of the threats to their own survival, and knowledge about social networks that offer information-sharing potential. The report argues that scientific and other institutions must provide communities with the right support to strengthen this knowledge and build resilience.
Recommendations and case studies detail the benefits and opportunities for communities to get involved at different stages of the early warning system. In addition to outlining the people-centred approach, the report explores its relevance to climate change and food insecurity. Annexes in the report include statistics on disaster patterns over the last 20 years, as well as progress in implementing risk-reduction measures.
Source: UN Environment Programme | 2012
This report provides an inventory of existing early warning systems, organised according to the type of environmental threat. It covers a range of hazard types — differentiating between rapid- and slow-onset events — and spans developing as well as developed nations.
The report introduces basic concepts behind early warning systems, including the policy and operational aspects; looks at the role of earth observation in these systems; describes existing systems for several hazards; and presents gaps that remain in spite of improvements in scientific knowledge and technology, future perspectives and a global multi-hazard approach to early warning.
It concludes with recommendations for strengthening the capacity for early warning, with specific reference to developing regions. Suggestions include expanding the geographical coverage of systems, improving prediction capabilities, developing warning infrastructures and promoting education programmes on disaster preparedness.
Source: UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction | 2006
This report synthesises the findings of a global survey that identifies gaps in early warning systems, which was carried out by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) in collaboration with a multi-party working group.
It comments on mixed progress made in each of the UNISDR's four elements of early warning systems: risk knowledge; monitoring and warning service; dissemination and communication; and response capability. The report highlights areas where considerable advances have been made — for example in developing the knowledge and tools required to assess risks and communicate predictions and warnings — as well as where significant inadequacies still exist, such as basic equipment and skills.
The report also discusses challenges that need to be overcome for each of the above elements of early warning systems. It identifies cross-cutting issues, including insufficient coordination and a lack of participatory approaches, and concludes with a summary of recommendations for the next steps towards creating a comprehensive global early warning system for all natural hazards.