strategy

Developing early warning disaster systems

Synonyms:
Instigating disaster security system
Warning of disasters
Providing disaster warnings
Building emergency message system
Establishing early warning of disasters
Improving early warning of disasters
Improving early warning systems
Providing global early warning information
Context:
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.

Agenda 21 recommends:

(a) strengthening national early-warning systems, with particular emphasis on the area of risk-mapping, remote-sensing, agrometeorological modelling, integrated multidisciplinary crop-forecasting techniques and computerized food supply/demand analysis;
(b) strengthening the Global System on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of PGRFA by, [inter alia], accelerating the development of the Global Information and Early Warning System to facilitate the exchange of information;
(c) strengthening and/or developing global, regional, national and local early warning systems to alert populations to impending disasters; (d) active cooperation to expand and improve information on early warning systems on food and agriculture at both regional and national levels;
(e) support for national and regional early warning systems through food-security assistance schemes that monitor food supply and demand and factors affecting household access to food;
(f) promotion of local awareness and preparedness for disaster prevention and mitigation, combined with the latest available technology for early warning and forecasting;
(g) supporting and concentrating UNEP capacity in this area.

The Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS-UNEP) ensures that comprehensive assessments are made of major environmental sectors and issues. This ensures the provision of early warning of environmental changes by analysing monitoring data. Areas of concentration: monitoring related to atmosphere and climate; environment pollution; terrestrial renewable resources; collection of environmental data. An inter-agency mechanism for examining possible situations of mass population displacement is being managed by the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs.

Implementation:
In 1993, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies spent 324,570 Swiss francs on improving the Federation's ability to accurately identify and interpret the warning signs of impending disasters, and to take measures to reduce the resulting suffering.

The need for an accurate picture of events on the ground in sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia is being met by the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), part of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). IRIN, which was born out of the 1994 crisis in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, pioneered the use of e-mail and web technology to deliver and receive information to and from some of the most remote and underdeveloped places in Africa, cheaply and efficiently. Its reporting focuses on strengthening universal access to timely, strategic and non-partisan information so as to enhance the capacity of the humanitarian community to understand, respond to and avert emergencies. IRIN further supports efforts at conflict resolution and reconciliation by countering misinformation and propaganda.

HazardNet is a prototype natural and technological hazard information sharing network under development as a collaborative demonstration project of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR). The goal of HazardNet is to enhance the timeliness, quality, quantity, specificity and accessibility of information for persons and organizations world-wide concerned with preventing, mitigating or preparing for or large-scale natural and technological emergencies. When fully operational HazardNet will consist of the following services: (1) Map of the World - presented to the user when entering HazardNet will be the basis for identifying locations of hazardous events; (2) Operational Service - providing access to real-time hazard alerts, warnings and forecasts, situation reports, news accounts, Geographic Information System (GIS) along with country facts, demographics and other relevant information separated by hazard type. This service is to be used in monitoring early warnings and alerts in order to stimulate effective and timely international response; (3) Informational Service - providing access to natural and technological information identified/categorized by hazard type.

Broader:
Developing
Subjects:
Information
Construction
Prevention
Emergencies
Systems
Planetary initiatives
Development
Reform
Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies