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Feb 8, 2023

Caribbean Community Takes Global Lead in Implementation of EW4ALL

Studies have found that twenty-four hours’ notice of an impending hazard event such as a hurricane can decrease potential damages by up to thirty percent. Unfortunately, one in every three persons globally, particularly within Small Island Developing States, is not covered by early warning systems. Even more alarming, sixty percent of Africa’s population is not covered. Notwithstanding the discouraging figures, the United Nations’ Secretary-General Antonio Guterres envisions a world where all persons across the earth are protected with early warning systems by 2027. Following the launch of an Executive Action Plan for Early Warning Systems by 2027 at COP 27 in Sharm el Sheikh, the Caribbean Community is taking the lead in implementing the Early Warning for All Initiative. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

The Sendai Framework for  Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 is an agreement between United Nation’s Member Countries to substantially reduce risks and losses associated with disasters globally by 2030. The framework is built on seven targets, the seventh being the increase of early warning systems for people by 2023. To this end, on Monday, the United Nations for Disaster Risk Management hosted the first regional launch of the Early Warnings for All Initiative for the Caribbean.


Amina Mohammed

Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, UN

“Today we carry a clear message, every person in the Caribbean, and Small Island Developing States and the world must be protected by an effective, multi-hazard, early warning system. This is not a privilege but a right that every person on earth should enjoy. That is why the secretary general has launched the early warnings for all initiative, with a goal to reach universal early warning systems coverage by 2027. Early warning systems, saves lives, protects livelihood and delivers huge economic and social benefits. Just twenty-four hours notice of an impending hazardous event can cut damage by 30 percent.”


Without systems to inform people that hazardous weather is on the way, the potential risks and losses significantly increase. It has been found that countries without adequate warning systems experience mortality rates that are eight times higher than countries equipped with these systems.


Amina Mohammed

“This is especially true for the Caribbean which suffers from the large disasters relative to its size. Due to the effect of climate change, we know that climate and other disasters are set to increase, exposing small island developing states to greater vulnerabilities.”


In her remarks at Monday’s event, Doctor Carla Barnett, the Secretary General of the Caribbean Community, stressed the importance of developing systems that are people centers in which communities play an active role. She emphasized the need for credible and accurate reports void of disinformation and misinformation.


Carla Barnett

Dr. Carla Barnett, Secretary-General, CARICOM

“We must continue on a path where early warning is seen by all users as underpinned by a principle of authority, credibility and salience. Met Services have constantly battled stubborn disregard for warnings and fake information, which undermines credible efforts and engender public displeasure when a disaster does not occur as was predicted. This is detrimental to the goal. We learned during our recent global health crisis that rampant misinformation can be so debilitating that it can become its own crisis.”


A mid-term review of the implementation of the Sendai Framework, published on January thirty-first 2023, found that annual economic losses from climate and weather-related events have risen significantly over the last decade. Take, for example, the damages caused by Hurricane Lisa to the Belize District and the economic implications of such damages. Not only are families displaced, but many of those affected are further marginalized.


Phillip Pierre

Phillip Pierre, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia

“Early warning systems do not only safe lives, but also provide vast economic benefits. They are considered to be low hanging fruit for climate change adaptation, because they are relatively cheap in comparison to the dealing with the consequence of improper planning and preparedness. We must acknowledge that emergency management involves prevention, preparedness, response, mitigation and recovery. However, the best disaster response is ensuring that we have the foresight to avoid this from the start or to take upfront measures to minimize the social and economic impact.”


The United Nations Secretary General’s vision of a universe where all people are equipped with early warning systems will cost over three point one billion U.S dollars. That is equivalent to every person on earth giving approximately fifty cents a year for the next five years. Given the frequency and increased intensity of annual regional disasters, Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados, stressed the importance of collaboration among member states in seeing that the entire Caribbean is covered.


Mia Mottley

Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados

“We therefore have to ask ourselves, how do we give ourselves the best chance of survival? We do so first and foremost by working together, working together across countries, working together across institutions, working in together across communities, working together sectoral and across sectors, working together in setting the financing that remain absents, the legislative framework and policy framework, working together at all levels. And, the first thing, whether as an individual who suffers from addiction or exposed to vulnerability, the first requirement is to know.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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