A new initiative to strengthen multi-hazard early warning systems and to boost resilience is underway in Mali.
The Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) project was launched on 30 April as part of a wider plan to modernize Mali’s hydrological and meteorological services. It will be implemented during the next four years and brings together national institutions responsible for meteorology, hydrology, food security and civil protection.
For the past three decades more than 7 million Malians have been directly impacted by drought and flood events, and UN agencies are warning that more than 4 million people will need humanitarian assistance this year. Associated economic damage and losses have been calculated at approximately USD140 million per year. Two thirds of Mali’s land area is classified as desert or semi-desert and the country is one of the most drought-prone in the world. It is also frequently impacted by flooding events, caused by combination of river overflow and heavy precipitation.
The government of Mali has secured resources from the Climate Risk and Early Warning System (CREWS) initiative to strengthen its flood vigilance system along the Niger River, with improved flood bulletins based on precipitation forecasts. CREWS resources are providing technical assistance leveraging resources from Green Climate Fund (GCF) (USD22.75 million) and the International Development Association (IDA) to enhance the country’s hydro-meteorological and warning capabilities.
A joint World Bank, and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) CREWS mission, comprising experts in meteorology, hydrology, civil protection, disaster risk management and food security, met from 26 to 30 April 2018 with focal points from the four institutions involved in warning systems. These institutions include Mali Météo (Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure), Food Security Early Warning System (Food Security Commissariat, Office of the President), Civil Protection Directorate General (Ministry of Security and Civil Protection), and the National Directorate for Water Resources (Ministry of Energy and Water).
The key objective of the mission was to update all the relevant investment plans, to launch the CREWS activities, and to pre-appraise the GCF and IDA project.
The four-year CREWS project is supported financially by Australia, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, and will be implemented by WMO and the World Bank and its Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery. It is closely aligned with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Mali’s Minister of Security and Civil Protection Salif Traoré pledged support for the project. He said that Mali’s current early warning system originates from the Cereal Market Restructuring Program in the 1980s. It focuses mainly on food insecurity resulting from droughts and pest invasions.
“It is time for Mali to adopt procedures and tools for rapid warning, which will complement existing early warning arrangements. We are particularly thinking of hazards such as floods, sandstorms and bushfires. The management of these risks requires concerted action between the institutions responsible for monitoring and forecasting, for coordinating the response, local authorities and citizens,” Gen. Traoré told the opening session of the meeting.
Through coordinated use of resources from CREWS, IDA and GCF, the Meteorological and Hydrological Services will receive support to improve monitoring and forecasting of hazards; while users in the food security and civil protection sectors will also be strengthen to ensure more optimal use of meteorological and hydrological services for timely warning and response.
WMO technical coordinator Jean-Baptiste Migraine added that WMO and the World Bank are working closely together and preparing a sustainable investment in support of national meteorological and hydrological services, in line with the national framework for climate services. WMO will remain engaged under the joint WMO-WB CREWS partnership to provide technical and scientific guidance to the NMHSs, he said.
World Bank senior disaster risk management specialist and project task team leader, Koffi Hounkpe said that the CREWS initiative will contribute to capacity development of the main four agencies and support the hydrology and meteorology services modernization project.