Improving early warning systems across the Pacific Ocean

Improving early warning systems across the Pacific Ocean

29 Sep 2020

Bangkok , Thailand

Participants discussing the way forward for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific Ocean.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific Ocean are particularly vulnerable to hydro-meteorological hazards due to their remoteness and fragile ecosystems. Cyclones, coastal storm surges and flooding combined with sea-level rise due to climate change threaten the lives and livelihoods of communities residing on the shores and valleys of the countless archipelagos.

Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) participated in the 4th project steering committee meeting for World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) initiative on Climate Risk and Early Warnings Systems (CREWS). The meeting provided strategic directions for assessing capacities, gaps and needs of national meteorological and hydrological authorities in Pacific Area countries as part of a recent implementation agreement between ADPC and WMO.

Dr. Senaka Basnayake, Director at ADPC, identified ADPC's current projects and experience in mainstreaming early warning systems in Asia and the Pacific region such as drought and flood monitoring tools as part of the SERVIR-Mekong program.

A summary of ADPC's tasks and expected deliverables as part of the implementation agreement with WMO.

Mr. Lalit Kumar Dashora, Senior Technical Specialist at ADPC, explained that ADPC is currently assessing national early warning capacities in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Tokelau, and Tuvalu through research and national consultations. The assessment's outcomes will be published in a regional report and country-specific technical briefs.

Mr. Dashora also explained that an early warning system assessment matrix developed by ADPC (based on WMO guidelines) will be replicated in the SIDS. ADPC successfully applied this matrix in South Asian and Southeast Asian countries as part of its previous projects.

In the next component of the project, ADPC will conduct online consultations with each national meteorological and hydrological services in the focal countries. Due to COVID-19, online capabilities have been identified for various short-term and long-term scenarios to have minimal impact on the project's pace.