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Climate & Energy

A Roadmap for Managing Disasters: How Climate-Vulnerable Countries Can Access Tech

Paper16th December 2021

Our Time to Zero In series makes the case for an inclusive transition to net zero that focuses on people, fairness, technology, markets and communities.

Chapter 1

Executive Summary

Climate crises threaten to displace 1.2 billion people by 2050, with the cost of adapting to these new threats estimated to reach the range of $280 billion to $500 billion per year. Vulnerable people and regions, including sub-Saharan Africa, will be disproportionately impacted. Yet climate-vulnerable countries have received minimal funding for adaptation to date. Early-warning and early-action systems have an essential role to play in enabling effective disaster-preparedness and response efforts. As we outlined in the opening paper of our series on climate disasters and tech, tech-enabled solutions could potentially help to prevent $66 billion in loss and damage annually. The second paper in the series laid out exactly how these solutions can be used.

Early-warning and climate-information systems are essential for enabling effective disaster preparedness and response efforts, and data- and risk-informed decision-making relies on leveraging the various technologies that underpin these systems in the right ways and at the right time. Early warning and early action also require high-quality, accurate data to be collected and analysed for risk-informed impact forecasts and targeted-response action plans.

As part of our four-part series, this paper focuses on the specific barriers governments face in accessing and operationalising technologies that support effective and cost-efficient disaster-risk management. We also provide forward-leaning recommendations for how governments can access and incorporate the right technology into a comprehensive, government-wide, tech-enabled disaster-management system.

We set out three broad challenges that governments face in leveraging technology and data to transform disaster management: (i) issues of governance; (ii) failure to sufficiently utilise regional and international networks; and (iii) relative lack of technical expertise and appropriate tech infrastructure.

We recommend that policymakers should:

  • Build comprehensive institutional frameworks that maximise the potential impact of technology on disaster management, set clear data-led triggers for action and assign distinct roles and responsibilities across government.

  • Build a scalable tech-infrastructure base: a comprehensive multi-hazard early warning system informed by multiple data sources, integrating contributions from international and regional organisations and the private sector.

  • Build the technical skills across government to interpret and analyse data and turn findings into action.

The other papers in this series focus on how governments can use the right technologies in the right ways to transform disaster preparedness and response efforts, and how governments can leverage international and national finance flows to build and maintain tech-enabled disaster-risk-management systems. These papers collectively feed into a roadmap for policymakers, outlining the steps governments need to take to build tech-enabled disaster-risk-management systems that enable earlier warning and more effective response, saving lives and livelihoods. This work must ultimately be complemented by a focus on curbing emissions and achieving net zero, while increasing investment in long-term adaptation and climate-focused innovation to counter the many irreversible effects posed by climate change.

Chapter 2

Identifying the Access Problem

Technology and data can transform disaster-management systems, saving lives and livelihoods and minimising damage and loss. However, governments around the world face numerous challenges when trying to access and integrate technology into their disaster early-warning systems (EWS) and climate-information systems. These challenges include (i) accessing the right technologies and data from the right sources at the right time; (ii) building the necessary technical expertise to turn early data into early action; and (iii) building an institutional environment that’s conducive to ensuring a data-driven, comprehensive, timely, and cross-government response to disasters.

Consequently, EWS coverage of populations in least-developed countries – where climate disasters are often the most frequent and have the highest impact – is significantly lower than the global average. One-third of the global population is still not covered by multi-hazard early-warning systems (MHEWS). This increases to nearly half of people in least-developed countries (LDCs).

Figure 1

Populations covered by early-warning systems

Figure 1 – Populations covered by early-warning systems

Source: 2020 State of Climate Services Report, WMO. Accessible here

Figure 2

Percentage of countries with multi-hazard early-warning systems in place

Figure 2 – Percentage of countries with multi-hazard early-warning systems in place

Source: 2020 State of Climate Services Report, WMO. Accessible here

Addressing these three challenges is necessary to ensure that tech-enabled EWS are integrated within a comprehensive and effective disaster risk management framework, which, together with a sufficient interpretive capacity, enables governments to more effectively prepare for, and respond to, the increased number and intensity of climate shocks.

Based on research conducted through interviews with EWS practitioners, we can categorise the key challenges of developing tech-driven disaster-management systems into three broad areas: (i) issues of governance; (ii) failure to sufficiently utilise regional and international networks; and (iii) relative lack of technical expertise and appropriate tech infrastructure.

Barriers to Accessing the Tech: Issues of Governance

Our findings indicate that siloed and inconsistent governance is one of the main barriers to building faster and more effective tech-enabled disaster-risk-management systems. This can be further broken down into two sub-components: sub-optimal governance within the disaster-risk-management cycle and low prioritisation of the cycle itself.

In most of the cases examined, disaster-risk-management (DRM) efforts are fragmented across different agencies with limited coordination at the national level. Agencies’ functions, roles and areas of responsibilities along the DRM cycle are often not clearly outlined and lack precisely defined legal implications. In the absence of a legal mandate, various stakeholder agencies (across distinct levels of government) suffer from a variety of conflicting operational issues. These include (i) poor risk knowledge at the national level (owing to fragmented data-collection practices and isolated hazard/vulnerability assessments); (ii) inconsistent communication between stakeholder agencies (owing to shortcomings in communication protocols and related arrangements); and (iii) inadequate procedures and standard operating procedures that set clear thresholds (such as rainfall, temperature or wind speeds) that trigger and determine subsequent actions and responses such as public warnings or evacuations.

Many governments, in particular LMICs, also lack a dedicated cross-government lead with the legal mandate to oversee and coordinate between all stakeholder agencies throughout the DRM cycle. Siloed disaster-management processes and overlapping directives decrease the overall efficacy of disaster management. In a recent analysis of Mongolia, a report by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction has recommended that, for the near term, the Mongolian government should prioritise streamlining its various disaster-management policies, frameworks and response mechanisms into a coherent package. The report also states that many DRM agencies have overlapping responsibilities, highlighting the need for further delineation and clarification regarding the exact roles and responsibilities of each agency.

The second sub-component of governance issues is the low prioritisation of and lack of high-level buy-in for early-warning and early-response disaster-management approaches. This comes in part from a “wait-for-verification” approach to disaster-risk management by government officials and policymakers in LMICs. Governments have a “tendency to delay a response until there is hard evidence of a crisis”. Committing to action based on forecasts requires a high degree of confidence in the data: policymakers face both a financial and reputational risk when allocating part of the national budget to disaster-risk management ex ante. Furthermore, should policymakers press ahead with disaster risk reduction/mitigation initiatives, such efforts might end up being questioned if there are no indicators of success (as the disaster has been avoided). Disaster-management efforts therefore tend to be largely limited to disaster response as opposed to disaster risk reduction. This leads to huge losses – in the case of Samoa, disaster response is six times more expensive than disaster preparedness – and insufficient funding for disaster preparedness.

As a result, the overall effectiveness of the country’s disaster-risk-management effort is hindered. According to a report by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, while 50 per cent of disaster-assistance funding is used for disaster response and relief, only 4 per cent of such funding is used for preparedness measures.

If data is to lead to action, clear governance structures and standard operating procedures must be put in place – and preparedness must be prioritised –to maximise the benefits of tech-enabled disaster management.

Barriers to Accessing the Tech: Underutilisation of International Networks

International networks, such as the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) and the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES) are important support systems that (i) enable the sharing of technical climate data and subject-matter expertise, (ii) facilitate the integration of national-level hydrological and meteorological (hydromet) and EWS services with their regional and/or global counterparts and (iii) provide crucial technical support and expertise for countries to enhance and streamline these services.

Those support networks, as well as other organisations such as the multilateral development banks (World Bank, AfDB, ADB, etc.), could provide technical and financial support to strengthen forecasting and response systems. The WMO coordinates forecasting and data-processing efforts in regional centres, and member countries can access their services and data products.

However, our findings indicate that support systems are not sufficiently leveraged by most countries, hindering the development of an efficient and accurate climate and weather service.

For instance, according to the HydroMet Gap Report 2021, countries often do not make sufficient use of available regional weather and climate products that would provide the foundation for a basic yet reliable weather- and climate-monitoring service. The reasons for the failure to do so can be attributed to a lack of human capital and technical equipment (in-country hardware often lacking the necessary processing capacity), as well as aged or insufficient observation networks.

Capitalising on global and regional products requires human capital: the analytical and interpretative capacity to turn models and data into insights and recommendations. Protocols that draw upon results and data, executing action in response to signals, are another important pillar, as is clear cross-government agreement on turning these insights into action. This capacity needs to be backed by the technical infrastructure, processing power and communication networks that enable interpretation. Feedback from our expert panel stressed that governments do not need to immediately build the capacity to turn raw data into actionable insights. Data from international and regional networks are often processed before delivery, but governments do need to build the ability to become capable users of these data products, equipped to turn signals into action.

Generally, governments need to be able to offer an environment in which global and regional data can be leveraged. For instance, data products from the WMO delivery centres require experts and computing power that are able to interpret and process the data into local and national hydromet models that enhance accuracy and timeliness of triggers.

Though global and regional numerical weather-prediction models such as the Global Forecast System are invaluable, it is crucial to supplement those models with data from domestic observation networks to assimilate data and increase accuracy and predictability on a national scale. This process is called regional climate downscaling (RDS). The World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) analysis of Armenia’s hydromet service highlighted the need for expertise in RDS to increase granularity and accuracy of the prediction of extreme weather events.

The inadequacy of domestic weather-observation networks – made up of weather stations, radar facilities or access to satellite data – is an important barrier restricting the capacity of national weather services. Sub-standard observation capacity at the national level also affects regional weather and climate predictions: climate and weather science significantly benefit from a granular and accurate observation network, both regionally and across the globe. Consequently, a lack of national observation infrastructure affects the quality and accuracy of regional models.

Data-sharing across countries is particularly important when local and national data are insufficient or inaccurate. For instance, the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/PTWS) is a collaborative network of member states that operates a system of tsunami sensors across the Pacific Ocean. Its data are shared to maximise the efforts that no country could implement on its own. A lack of data-sharing agreements may prevent effective data-sharing between countries, and even between the ministries of a single country: the hydromet agency of Kyrgyzstan, for example, is mandated by law to charge for the use of their data. Except for the energy ministry, all government agencies need to pay, which significantly restricts data access. Many government agencies, including the meteorological agency of Sierra Leone, do not have a formal policy that mandates the free and open sharing of weather-observation data.

Barriers to Accessing the Tech: Lack of Expertise and Appropriate Infrastructure

The relative lack of technical expertise and appropriate tech infrastructure also hinders the efforts of governments to build tech-enabled disaster-management systems. There are three main issues here: (i) availability of technical expertise, (ii) interoperability and scalability of infrastructure and (iii) data sharing and management.

Technical expertise: Without the requisite expertise, governments are unable to turn data into actionable insights. The Hydromet Gap Report 2021 notes that countries often have too few local technical subject-matter experts, with international experts and volunteers filling in the gap on an ad-hoc or contractual basis, often as part of partnerships between national governments and private companies. Arrangements and mechanisms for transferring knowledge and building up domestic expertise are also absent, further compounding the problem.

Interoperability and scalability: Where infrastructure is available, it is often non-modular and non-scalable, having been acquired on a piecemeal basis. In many contexts key EWS-related infrastructure such as hydromet instruments, data-processing tools, or even IT systems and databases tend not to be interoperable with each other.

Data-sharing and management: Given that interoperability is crucial to increased efficiency and effectiveness of EWSs, the lack of intra-system connectivity often impairs data-sharing and usage between different government agencies, further hindering disaster-risk-management efforts. In many countries, no standardised national disaster-information database exists, as different government agencies have each created their own disaster-related databases, which results in reporting discrepancies, limiting compatibility with regional and international databases. Historical data, a crucial component in building up risk knowledge and disaster-forecasting capabilities, are often not digitised and made easily accessible to stakeholders. As a result, institutional learning and long-term decision-making procedures are affected.

Chapter 3


Figure 3

DRM is a multi-stakeholder effort

Figure 3 – DRM is a multi-stakeholder effort

Source: TBI

Technology can transform disaster-risk management, but to do so, it requires a conducive ecosystem, with effective adoption across stakeholders. Disaster-risk management is a multi-stakeholder effort involving government agencies, regional organisations, civil society and private-sector companies.

To effectively integrate technology, countries need to have:

1. A comprehensive institutional framework where the roles and responsibilities of various government agencies and international organisations are clearly defined.

2. An infrastructure base comprising the necessary instruments and integration of international and regional data.

3. The necessary technical expertise.

Several steps must be taken to acquire each of these three assets and successfully access the technology needed for effective disaster management. These steps are outlined below.

1. Formulating a Comprehensive Institutional Framework

Given that EWSs are a multi-stakeholder effort, governance frameworks (i.e. the “rules of the game”) play a key role in ensuring the smooth running of the system. Having political buy-in from a high level increases the likelihood of the issue being placed on agendas of influential policymakers, thereby spurring on the necessary formulation of improved disaster-risk-management frameworks. Such frameworks should clearly delineate the roles and responsibilities of various DRM agencies at distinct levels of government and provision for streamlined interagency communication and coordination. EWS tech adoption is more likely to yield positive outcomes if the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder are clearly defined, together with processes and operational procedures.

Conduct a comprehensive assessment as part of a national strategy to implement change

Governments should start this process by understanding where they are in the process of effectively adopting EWS tech, and what they need to prioritise in order to move forward. They should assess the current state of their DRM cycle governance against guidelines listed by various disaster-risk reduction agencies to determine the necessary components and processes that require upgrading or streamlining. For instance, the WMO, CREWS and United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) provide specific guidelines and checklists to inform governments on how to design and equip their early-warning systems in order to determine the necessary components and processes that require upgrading or streamlining.

Such an assessment can draw upon the expertise of international and regional bodies such as the Alliance for Hydromet Development or the CREWS Global Initiative, to aid understanding of the priorities for progress.

Clearly assign and distribute responsibilities, workflows and resources with a legally binding mandate

Issues concerning ill-defined roles and responsibilities as well as poor inter-agency crisis communication have hindered the overall ability of governments to respond to disasters. There needs to be a clear distribution of roles and responsibilities for every agency and organisation within the DRM cycle – for example, there should be standard operating procedures regarding data sharing. In Nepal, the responsibilities of disaster preparedness and response agencies are legally mandated, allowing for more effective coordination mechanisms throughout the DRM cycle. Having clear and streamlined command chains and processes also allows for increased bandwidth to discuss the development of national disaster strategies and technology-adoption plans.

Agree to disaster-response triggers and standard operating procedures

A functioning governance system with clear responsibilities and mandates also requires agreement on the thresholds (for example, the amount of rainfall, the windspeed or the intensity of a storm) that will trigger pre-defined disaster-response protocols. This also guarantees the involvement of other stakeholders and disaster-response agencies such as civil defence, the military or even the coastguard, should the requirements be met. Community involvement in determining these agreed-upon thresholds is also important to ensure compliance with associated standard operating procedures. In the case of Bangladesh, research has shown that discussions with local-level authorities and populations to understand their perceptions of disaster risk is key to increasing trust in the national EWS system, given that local communities have largely depended on their indigenous knowledge for managing flood risks. Local communities have also indicated their preference for local authorities (for example, religious leaders and schoolteachers) to disseminate warnings. Therefore, having agreed-upon thresholds and response protocols is more likely to invoke a favourable response and bring about compliance with standard operating procedures.

Elevate DRM to the highest levels of governance and establish a single point of leadership

A critical step to enhanced disaster-risk management is prioritisation and buy-in at the top level of government. DRM is a multi-stakeholder concept and requires decisive but coordinated planning and implementation, manifesting the need for strong executive support. A cross-government body, with a strong coordination and implementation mandate and sufficient tech expertise, should ensure that tech-enabled DRM is sufficiently prioritised across government and that early-warning data lead to concerted cross-government action.

In particular, for countries that frequently suffer from multi-hazard exposure such as simultaneous storms, earthquakes, floods and so on, it may be beneficial to create a single coordinating agency with the rank of a ministry to consolidate competencies.

For instance, in the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Dorian in 2019, the Bahamas created a dedicated “Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction” to address the growing threat of future disasters. The Bahamas is exposed to frequent and worsening storms during the hurricane season, and so the government recognised these permanent risks and put disaster-risk management to the top of the government agenda.

Figure 4

EWS tech-adoption model

roadmap-managing-disasters-how-climate-vulnerable-countries-can-access-tech - sitesdefaultfilesinline-imagest4cdblueprintgraphic06gif

Source: TBI

2. Building a Scalable Tech-Infrastructure Base

Efforts to integrate technology into existing national disaster-management systems will require a scalable national tech-infrastructure ecosystem, together with the necessary expertise needed for implementation, operation and maintenance. This also enables smoother international/regional integration and lower costs in the long-term.

Create central national data infrastructure to enable sharing, participation, interoperability and scalability

Since early warning and response are highly data-driven, creating centralised data infrastructure and standardisations is imperative to ensure efficiency and interoperability. For instance, the Philippines' disaster-management project NOAH has unified risk-exposure analysis and data from different agencies and research organisations within a single database and visualisation platform. This has been recognised as a success, even though the project was lacking sustainable funding from the government.

A national database should receive data from concerned agencies such as the hydromet service and geological and defence ministries as well as other stakeholders that either produce or process data, including private-sector entities, civil society and affected communities themselves. A comprehensive data-sharing and access policy should enable the public, including researchers, the media and international organisations, to access and use the data and information. Linkages such as application programming interfaces (APIs) could make access easier, since they allow third parties to access existing infrastructures and databases via dedicated interfaces.

A comprehensive data infrastructure enables data sharing, access and participation across government agencies, and encourages the private sector to engage in the disaster-risk-management cycle. The database and infrastructure should be modular in design, which allows for it to be scaled according to the needs of the national DRM system. A modular design ensure that components can be added, amended or replaced without disrupting the functionality of the overall system.

For instance, the UN’s DesInventar Disaster Information Management System is an integrated management platform which conducts data collection, risk assessments and analysis. Such a platform could serve as an entry point for governments to streamline and centralise disaster risk information.

Build modular, scalable tech infrastructure

As set out in the sections above, national, regional and global predictive models are more accurate when combined with nationally collected data. The previous paper in this series, on how climate-vulnerable countries can use tech, sets out the technology investments that governments should prioritise, and how to establish what is needed in different contexts.

These investments should build on what exists in each context to create a comprehensive, modular and scalable system. A national tech infrastructure based around modular components is also likely to be more resilient than a more traditional system, given the interoperable and “easy-to-connect” design philosophy of a modular approach. Other forms of modular infrastructure (for example, power grids) have already been adopted in disaster-prone countries like Japan for that purpose. Investment in modular infrastructure can also have added benefits beyond supporting early warning and early action: it can provide the foundation for additional critical services needed for governments in the 21st century, including providing access to remote learning and healthcare.

Implement an integrated multi-hazard EWS, rather than separate siloed EWSs for specific disasters

National early-warning and response systems should address all types of disasters to create a multi-hazard approach, rather than individual and siloed early-warning systems. A multi-hazard early-warning system could unify competencies and entail more efficient utilisation of interoperable forecasting, monitoring and response systems. This would increase efficiency and consistency, and ultimately improve lead times of single-hazard EWSs.

Such a transition towards multi-hazard early-warning systems can also be supported by various intergovernmental initiatives such as RIMES. Such initiatives provide technical and capacity development to governments in countries in Asia and Africa for disasters (climate-induced or otherwise).

Integrate the private sector and mandate it to play an active role

The private sector plays a key role in developing tech-led solutions, and governments should ensure they are engaging global and national tech providers in designing and developing early-warning systems. Efforts to unlock climate-tech innovation in climate-vulnerable countrie, including proposals for innovation hubs, present a key opportunity for governments to engage with promising innovations and challenge tech providers to find solutions to pressing problems. Most commercial earth-observation and data-modelling companies have primarily designed tech solutions to meet the needs of paying clients, but many are increasingly exploring applications of their tools for the common good. Governments should engage with these companies and advocate for solutions to their key challenges.

For instance, mobile-phone operators are key actors in disseminating early-warning information. In Japan, the government has engaged in partnerships with the private sector as a key component of the disaster-risk-management value chain. Besides participating in emergency drill operations, private companies also carry the cost for parts of early-warning systems. For instance, mobile operators maintain the early-alert mail system that informs citizens about disasters.

Another example is the disaster-risk-management law in the Philippines, which specifically includes the private sector in the DRM cycle. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reserves one seat for the private sector, represented by the Philippine Disaster Risk Foundation, an initiative of large private-sector conglomerates in the Philippines. These conglomerates have the necessary financial, logistical and human-resource capacity to actively support disaster-risk activities in the Philippines, such as the distribution of relief goods, business-continuity strategies or the operation of early-warning-information equipment.

3. Building Technical Capabilities and Subject-Matter Expertise

Building effective tech-enabled disaster-management systems starts by building the expertise required to turn data into actionable insights. In our findings, we highlighted the importance of technical and human capacity to collect the right data, process them and interpret the results with sufficient analytical capacity. While building national tech infrastructure over time is critical, the first step should be investing in the technical capacity to turn data into action. Global and regional data sources, which are enhanced by national inputs, are available, and ensuring countries can understand, process and action this data is critical.

Leverage regional and international knowledge and infrastructure networks

The collection, analysis and interpretation of climate and weather data is a highly complex process that requires sophisticated equipment and expertise. Regional cooperation and tapping into international networks can help to achieve economies of scale, leverage available equipment and expertise, and enhance efficiency and accuracy of hydromet services across regions.

Governments, particularly of resource-constrained countries, should access the international networks of the WMO and the support systems of initiatives such as CREWS, GFDRR or the WFP, which all aim to enhance the administrative, technical and financial capabilities of national hydromet services and early-warning systems (see Annex for detailed information on what each major network can provide).

Another important source of crucial information is the International Charter Space and Major Disasters, a global collaborative network of space agencies and private satellite-data providers. In the case of an emergency, a member country can activate the charter and satellite data and analysis will be provided free of charge. Results are received quickly – the turnaround time is just a few hours. The technology can help to tackle large-scale disasters such as storms, floods or earthquakes, and can generate rapid damage or impact assessments.

However, it is also crucial that those support systems are very clear in conveying the benefits and value proposition of their services and, more importantly, the positive cost/benefit ratio of investing in early warning rather than response.

Investing in the training of experts to strengthen the analytical and interpretation capacity in the national hydromet agencies, as well as research facilities that use data to conduct risk assessments and strategic planning, is critical. International assistance is available: the WMO and other international organisations provide training for national hydromet agencies, and multilateral development banks such as the World Bank, African Development Bank or the Asian Development Bank provide funding and knowledge exchange among their member countries.

Place as much emphasis on building up capabilities for disaster-risk reduction as for disaster response

While disaster response is essential to saving lives in an emergency, governments should place greater focus on risk reduction: the prediction of and preparedness for disasters to minimise their impact and increase the efficiency of disaster response. In the case of Nepal, research has shown that having sufficient risk knowledge (via infrastructure and forecasting expertise) can increase lead times up to threefold (from two to three hours to between seven and eight hours).

Better risk knowledge leads to a longer lead time and more effective long-term planning, which in turn increases risk reduction and ensures greater resilience than coping with the aftermath of a disaster.


Technology can transform disaster management, saving lives and livelihoods and reducing costs from damage and loss through early warning and early action. For governments to effectively embrace tech-driven disaster-management systems, they need strong leadership, clearly agreed cross-government protocols, a staged investment in the technologies that enable early warning and early action, and a concerted plan to build the necessary expertise required to turn data into action.

Chapter 4

Acknowledgements and Annex


This report would have not been possible without the input, expertise and time commitment of our workshop participants and interview partners. In particular, we would like to thank Amit Wadhwa, Nicolas Bidault, and Jothiganesh Sundaram from the World Food Program (WFP) for attending our workshop and providing their knowledge about remote sensing-based information for early warning systems within their PRISM project. We would also like to thank Bill Luz and Veronica Gabaldon from the Philippine Disaster Risk Foundation (PDRF) for their insight into the private sector driven disaster management in the Philippines. Mark Harvey of Resurgence has also shared his global experience of data-driven early warning systems. Kuo-Yu Slayer Chuang of GeoThings has not just shared his knowledge about tech-driven citizen science for disaster risk management, but also presented his products to our team. Moreover, we want to thank Andrew Zolli of Planet for his valuable insights in how to increase the use of high-resolution satellite remote sensing for early warning and response systems in developing countries.


Figure 5

International and regional tools and resources

Support System


Expertise provided

Case Studies

World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)

International organisation under the UN system

- Global standardisation and harmonisation

- Access to global/regional data, processing and analysis

- The WMO Global Data-Processing and Forecasting System (GDPFS), as part of the WMO Information System (WIS), has made numerical weather prediction possible for regions such as Southern and Eastern Africa

Climate Risk & Early Warning System (CREWS)

Collaboration between World Bank, WMO, GFDRR and United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)

- Support for LDCs and SIDSs to strengthen EWSs

- Knowledge and financial support to enhance risk knowledge, hydromet infrastructure or capacity building

- Hydromet and EWS for Afghanistan

- Strengthening EWS delivery in Burkina Faso

- CREWS has provided various forms of support to LMICS including a flash-flood guidance system for Fiji and 3D-technology-empowered early warnings for Afghanistan.

Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia 


International organisation of hydromet agencies, science agencies and development partners

- Shared EWSs across Asia and Africa

- Risk assessment, hazard monitoring

- Enhancing capabilities among member states

- Flood forecasting system developed by RIMES members with application in Bangladesh

- In 2020, close to 40 RIMES countries agreed to share real-time and historical data to boost climate modelling performance and empower participating countries with better quality forecasts

Hydromet Alliance


- Assessment of countries’ hydromet capabilities

- Creation of a financing facility to fund observation systems

- Deployment of Country Hydromet Diagnostics, a standardised diagnostic tool

- Country diagnostics assess hydromet capabilities

- Hydromet Gap Report 2021

- The Hydromet Alliance serves as a platform to connect between various initiatives such as the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), CREWS and upcoming WMO Country Support Initiative

World Bank

African Development Bank

Asian Development Bank


- Provide knowledge and financing support to enhance Hydromet services and infrastructure

- Improving hydromet services in Moldova

- National hydromet platform for interoperability in Haiti

- ClimDev Special Fund to finance climate information across Africa

- Improving Tajikistan’s hydromet operations centre

- The World Bank provides resilience rating systems to share best practices and provide guidance to stakeholders on whether projects have adequately considered climate adaption and resilience in their design

World Food Programme (WFP)

International organisation under the UN system

- Provides support in using remote sensing technology for risk/vulnerability assessment, analysis

- The PRISM programme supports countries with advanced vulnerability information

- The access to satellite data provided by PRISM has been used to monitor disaster impact in countries such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Cambodia

Source: TBI

Lead Image: Getty Images

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