SENDAI, JAPAN – This weekend, at the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction the U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the World Meteorological Organization announced the creation of Weather-Ready Nations, a new program to improve the understanding of high impact weather, water, and climate events.
The devastating effects of extreme events such as cyclones, floods, and tsunamis can be greatly reduced through improved communication of expected impacts and risk, better delivery of warning information to communities under a threat, and clearer actions that individuals, businesses, and communities can take to be more resilient. Even in places where the crucial step of establishing early warning systems has been completed, advanced warnings are only beneficial if they lead to a public response that moves people out of harm’s way. The basic need is for more actionable information to reduce the number of weather, water, and climate related fatalities and improve the economic value of weather, water, and climate information.
Weather-Ready Nations, relying on best practices developed in many countries--including the United States--will address this by offering to combine and share countries' experiences in developing initiatives that shift toward an impact-based forecasting and warning system which informs people about what impact the weather will have on users, rather than just expected conditions. The goal is to provide tangible actions that people and communities can take to increase their resilience.
First steps in launching Weather-Ready Nations will be to host seminars for experienced and interested countries to share best practices and then agree on capacity development actions. The next program action will be to offer demonstration programs to selected countries.
We welcome the participation of interested partners in this Initiative. Together we can empower emergency mangers and others to make smart decisions to save lives and reduce the economic impact of natural disasters.