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Climate risk, early warning systems initiative helps protect 111M people in 2022

June 23, 2023 
By The Climate Risk & Early Warning Systems InitiativeUnited Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

An estimated 111 million people are better protected against climate-related hazards thanks to early warning systems put into place in 2022 by the Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative.

An additional 282 million people in least developed countries and small island developing states should be covered by better weather and climate services in the next few years, according to the CREWS 2022 Annual Report.

The annual report Delivering early warning for everyone maps how the initiative helps saves lives, livelihoods and assets in the world’s most vulnerable countries by building resilience against hazards like drought, floods, sand and dust storms and coastal flooding.

CREWS is a key contributor to the international Early Warnings for All initiative spearheaded by UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, who wants the whole world to be covered by an early warning system by 2027.


“The CREWS initiative is key to the success of Early Warnings for All because it embodies a people-centred approach that prioritizes community engagement and helps transform and enhance meteorological and warning services, human capacities, and last mile action. WMO is committed to increasing resilience and climate adaptation through CREWS and to improving global basic weather and climate information through the Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF),” said Prof. Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, which is an implementing partner of CREWS.

Early warning systems are a proven way to protect lives and livelihoods in the face of climate hazards, which are responsible for 90 per cent of extreme events, and are increasing as a direct result of climate change.

“CREWS’ work with LDCs and SIDS to build more inclusive and multi-hazard early warning systems has never been more valuable in light of the goal set by EW4All”, said Mami Mizutori, special representative of the UN secretary-general for disaster risk reduction and head of UNDRR, one of the implementing partners of CREWS.


Since its inception in 2015, the CREWS Trust Fund has received US$ 105.6 million for tailored country-driven projects. People are at the heart of its work, by engaging communities and local organizations to find the right early warning solutions together and build resilience.

Since 2021, there has been a 36 per cent increase in CREWS’ trust fund contributions. An additional US$155 million is needed to meet operational support demand up to 2025.

“Our relevance is clear as an operational fund supporting action on every element of effective early warning systems and services. Our funding model remit to invest where early warning is most needed, and commitment to partnership in delivering early warning solutions for – and with – people, communities, and countries is a unique and powerful offer,” CREWS steering committee chair Gerhard Howe, head of adaptation, nature and resilience department foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, UK, wrote in the foreword.

Most CREWS projects are in Africa. In 2022, the extension of sand and dust forecasts to six more countries allows 90 million more people to reduce their risk. Fifteen countries in Central and West Africa now have better access to standardized early warning information through improved cellphone technology and alerting practices. Many African national institutions and communities are adopting and building on CREWS investments.

Risk is also exacerbated by other drivers such as inequality and conflict. Twenty-three of the countries supported by CREWS are affected by conflict or fragility, including Haiti, which is one of the 30 countries identified to start receiving assistance under the EW4All initiative. Across the Pacific, an area of focus for EW4All due to its exposure to some of the world’s most extreme climate-related events, 1.05m additional people are now protected – just under half of its population.

Another of the 30 countries, Niger, received assistance for flash flood guidance covering 12m people, while 9.5m people in Papua New Guinea are now covered by advisory services for drought, ahead of a stronger that usual predicted El Nino season.


CREWS is a mechanism that funds Least Developed Countries (LDC) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) for risk informed early warning systems, based on clear operational procedures. It is implemented by three partners: the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the World Bank Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GNDRR).

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