Statistics over the last decades show an increase in the frequency and severity of disasters caused by hydrometeorological hazards around the globe. Because anthropogenic forcing interacts with natural climate variability, climate change is experienced largely as shifts in the frequency and severity of extreme events. The last 40 years have seen a doubling of extreme events and staggering losses of life and property.1 Since 1996, 1.35 mn people were killed by natural hazards. About half of them died due to weather- and climate-related disasters. During the 2005-2014 period economic losses resulting from natural hazards were recorded at nearly a trillion. The least developed nations paid the highest price.2
Multi-hazard early warning systems combined with prevention, preparedness, and policies to address economic and social pressures, are key to DRR. Climate services play an essential role in this regard. The GFCS Adaptation Programme in Africa ensures coordinated actions to enhance the quality and effective application of climate services. Such services provide climate information in a way that assists decision making by individuals and organizations.
Climate services require engagement with user communities and effective access mechanisms to respond to user needs for climate information that assists in improved decision making. This side event will share lessons learned and best practice in bridging the demand and supply sides of climate services in the GFCS Adaptation Programme in Africa. WFP will highlight the opportunities in co-development and dissemination of climate services through radio programmes, SMS and establishing feedback loops with users through SMS. The IFRC will provide an overview of the challenges and opportunities involved in designing programs that reach and benefit the most vulnerable communities.
1 Joint Op-Ed in Huffington Post by Robert Glasser, UNISDR, and Petteri Taalas, WMO, 04/19/2017
2 UNISDR Poverty & Death: Disaster mortality 1996-2015 (2016)