Scaling Up action: Robust Observation at the heart of Effective Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems 

The Third Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-III) was held in Bali, Indonesia from 23 to 24 May at the Bali International Convention Centre (BICC) as a preparatory event for the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). Its theme was “From Stock Take to Scaling Actions on Accelerating the Knowledge and Practice of Early Warning Systems for Risk Informed Resilience”. IOC UNESCO co-led a session on Innovation: The Next Generation of Forecasting and Warning Systems, where the urgent need to enhance and expand the Global Ocean Observing System was recognized.

Although operational ocean forecasting is considered a vital activity supporting maritime safety, coastal harbor planning and management, search and rescue, oil spill response, blue economy, and other coastal disaster risk reduction activities, capacity to deliver this service is still lacking in many countries, particularly Small Islands Developing States and Africa. As these ocean prediction systems are increasing in demand, there is a need to build on experiences and knowledge to enable innovation:

“Sharing existing knowledge and best practices enables innovations and the development of next generation operational ocean forecasting systems and multi-hazard early warnings. It is important to promote and share the development of new ocean forecasting systems around the globe and improve the existing ones.” – highlighted Denis Chang Seng, UNESCO IOC Programme Specialist during the session.

The participants also underlined that ocean observations are a key component in establishing effective multi-hazard early warning systems (MHEWS).

Image credit: UNDRR

In the conference session, Fredrik Wetterhall (Forecast Department of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, UK) gave a talk on forecasting for an uncertain future and Raymond Tanabe (Pacific Region of the National Weather Service) spoke about the climate forecasting system. Erica Allis (Global Framework for Climate Services, World Meteorological Organization) introduced the topic of Artificial Intelligence to assist with limited datasets for the prediction of flash floods and for effective warning communication, an example of that being Operations Risk Insight. Mark Harvey (Resurgence) focused on innovations in the EWS governance space, design, and communication to support and scale inclusive early action.

Nearly 750 participants attended the MHEWC-III hybrid event, which was officially opened by WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas, UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction Mami Mizutori and Prof. Dwikorita Karnawati, head of the Indonesian weather agency, BMKG. The outcome statement of the MHEWC-III was presented at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) session on Early Warning and Early Action (EWEA) on the 27th May by Cyrille Honoré (Director of the DRR and Public Services Branch, Services Department, World Meteorological Organization).

To top