11 Sep 2023

Strategies and synergies for the EW4All initiative to reach the ‘last mile’ and translate into early and anticipatory actions

Three workshops at this year’s Global Dialogue Platform will focus on strategic global initiatives - the Early Warnings for All (EW4All) initiative, the Global Shield against Climate Risks and the Grand Bargain - and explore what they mean for anticipatory action. In this blog, Gantsetseg Gantulga, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), tells us what we can look forward to in the workshop dedicated to the EW4All initiative.

For those who may not be familiar with EW4ALL initiative, can you explain what it’s about?

EW4All has a very clear ambition, one set out by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at its launch in March 2022: that all people on Earth must be protected by early warning systems by 2027. And this ambition is urgent; currently, half of all countries worldwide do not have adequate early warning systems, and even fewer have regulatory frameworks that link early warnings to emergency plans.

Since its launch, the EW4All initiative has released its executive action plan (at COP27). This has four pillars, each led by a different agency: Pillar 1 on disaster risk knowledge is led by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR); Pillar 2 on detection, observations, monitoring, analysis and forecasting of hazards is led by World Meteorological Organization (WMO); Pillar 3 focuses on warning dissemination and communication and is led by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU); while Pillar 4, on preparedness to respond, is led by the IFRC. Besides these lead agencies, the initiative is being driven by several implementing and supporting partners.     

And how does the EW4All initiative connect to anticipatory action?

Achieving the EW4All initiative’s central ambition will require us, as the global disaster risk management community, to implement effective systems at global, regional, national and local levels – and across the development, climate and humanitarian sectors that operate along the value chains for early warning and early action. Such seamless collaboration is currently missing, and this workshop at the Global Dialogue Platform will explore the different strategies and synergies for doing so, while also demonstrating the success stories that we have to date from governments.    

There are, of course, clear links with anticipatory action. Any conversation about early warning systems needs to consider what happens to these warnings: who uses them? Are they disseminated effectively and reaching the people at risk? And, most importantly, what do people do once they have them?  

For example, organizations that use anticipatory approaches depend on early warning systems to trigger early actions: that is, to release the funding needed for these preagreed actions to happen. It’s essential that we, as an anticipatory action community, discuss how we can support the EW4All initiative and how it can be shaped to strengthen our own work.

Organizations that use anticipatory approaches depend upon early warning systems to trigger early actions... It’s essential that we, as an anticipatory action community, discuss how we can support the EW4All initiative and how it can be shaped to strengthen our own work.

Gantsetseg Gantulga IFRC

Who will be speaking at the workshop?

Experts from each of the agencies leading one of the four pillars will be speaking at the workshop, with speakers coming from UNDRR, WMO and ITU. We will also hear from the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership, who will talk about interpillar collaboration and progress.  

It is equally important to hear from government agencies on what success looks like in practice, in terms of a stronger early warning / early action value chain. We will also hear from the governments of the Maldives, Mozambique and Tajikistan, which are 3 of the 30 pilot countries for the EW4All initiative.

Tell us why people working on anticipatory action should take part in this workshop.

There will be opportunities for different stakeholders – including experts, practitioners, civil society organizations and policy-makers – to share their experiences, insights and best practices in designing and implementing end-to-end early warning systems, and ensuring that these are inclusive, integrated and accessible to everyone.  

We also want to hear about the challenges and barriers in implementing early warning systems and, together, think through ways to overcome these. This is where those active in the anticipatory action sector can add huge value – by telling us about their experiences of using early warning systems and where these need to improve to be more effective and usable.  

Which other sectors might find this workshop useful?

Every year, the Global Dialogue Platform brings together numerous stakeholders, who all share the ambition to scale up anticipatory action, and to do so through strong cross-sectoral and multistakeholder collaborations between those working in academia, policy and the humanitarian sector. And yet we also know that for effective early warning and early action value chains, we also need to work across the development and climate sectors at all levels. This workshop will be an opportunity for people from all these sectors to share how their organization could contribute – or is already contributing – to this ambition to provide timely and precise early warnings for a wide spectrum of hazards, and to translate these into life-saving actions.  

So, this is an invitation! Your expertise and insights are pivotal to creating a collaborative framework for early warnings and early actions, one that bridges technology, forecasts, policy-making, funding, anticipatory action and community engagement. Seize this opportunity to lead the transformation towards a safer future for all!

The ‘Achieving early warning for all: strategies and synergies for implementation’ workshop will take place on 10 October, 11:00-12:30 CET. Along with many other workshops and sessions at the 11th Global Dialogue Platform, it will be streamed live for online participation; there will also be two-way translation from English into Arabic, French and Spanish.

To join, please register on the event website.