New Delhi: Environment minister Bhupender Yadav showcased India’s disaster management preparedness and early warning system development Monday during the launch of a global plan to improve disaster risk forecasting at the COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
Yadav delivered a speech at a High-Level Round Table to launch an ‘Early Warnings for All Executive Action Plan’, unveiled by United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres. The plan “summarises the initial actions required” to ensure every person is protected by early warning systems and “sets out the pathway to implementation” of this goal, he said.
In March this year, Guterres tasked the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to come up with a plan to protect every person on Earth with early warning systems within the next five years.
Speaking at the event Monday, Yadav said India supported the Early Warnings for All initiative, which envisions a Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (MHEWS) alerting people about hazardous weather or climate events in advance.
“The global pace of climate mitigation is not enough to contain the rate of climate change. There is an urgent need for the world to acknowledge the cascading natural hazards that cause substantial losses around the world,” he said.
India has worked to improve early warning systems for all hydro-meteorological events, and installed early warning systems across its east and west coasts, Yadav said, adding, “We have reduced mortality from cyclones by up to 90 per cent over the last 15 years.”
The cyclone warning division (CWD) at India’s meteorological department also acts as a multilateral regional specialised meteorological centre for other countries in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, which has helped save lives, he added.
“Climate finance is still a mirage, and effective climate adaptation such as Early Warnings For All helps us collectively in our region toward reducing vulnerabilities and ensuring preparedness and swift and timely response to natural hazards,” Yadav concluded.
The WMO estimates that its Early Warnings for All plan, involving the installation of adequate early warning systems, will cost the equivalent of a mere 50 cents per person per year over the next five years.
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Call for investments
The plan calls for investments of USD 3.1 billion between 2023 and 2027, enough to cover “disaster risk knowledge, observations and forecasting, preparedness and response, and communication of early warnings,” according to a press statement.
The statement added that the Early Warning For All plan requires a deeper understanding of risk across all time scales, stronger national meteorological and hydrological services, disaster risk management agencies, emergency preparedness measures, accessible financial and technical support and an anticipatory humanitarian sector.
The initiative received widespread support from countries around the world.
“We need action. One such action is in early warning systems,” Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera said in his address to the High-Level Round Table.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte added, “There is, to a certain extent, money involved. We are trying to do our best – Netherlands, Finland, and Europe – we will increase climate finance. As a country, we will increase climate finance by half a billion dollars a year up to 2025, so we move up to USD 1.8 billion as part of the USD 100 billion.”
Union minister Bhupender Yadav, meanwhile, also spoke about India’s green hydrogen mission on the sidelines of the COP27.
“India is committed towards clean and green energy sources and the National Hydrogen Mission is a leap in that direction,” he said at the Middle East Green Initiative Summit 2022 aimed at creating “infrastructure needed to reduce emissions and protect the environment”.
(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)
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