The first milestone has been reached in developing a multi-hazard early warning advisory system for South-East Europe to improve forecasts and warnings about hazards such as floods, severe storms, droughts and heat-waves, which have caused serious damages in the region in recent years.
Representatives of the World Meteorological Organization, development partner USAID, numerous meteorological and hydrological services of South-East Europe and stakeholder organizations gathered in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 14 to 15 June to discuss the establishment of a South-East European Multi-Hazard Early Warning Advisory System.
The system will aim to provide operational forecasters with effective and tested tools for forecasting hazardous weather events and their possible impacts. Through a virtual platform, the system will support the provision of accurate forecasts and warnings for hazard-related decision-making by national authorities. Furthermore, the system will aim to
provide a platform for regional cooperation especially related to cross-border hazards, which frequently affect the region.
WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said South-East Europe is playing a pioneering role in the drive towards a global multi-hazard early warning system, which was discussed lastmonth at an international conference in Cancun, Mexico.
“A multi-hazard approach to early warnings supports action on climate change and disaster resilience in a way that makes sense economically and operationally,” said Mr Taalas. “This is why WMO is working towards impact-based weather forecasts, early warning systems and better coordination across many different sectors of society with many different actors.”
“The most important role of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services is to provide authorities and public with early and reliable warnings on natural hazards, such as storms with strong winds, heavy precipitation, floods, droughts, heat waves etc. These events often have cross-border dimension, therefore regional cooperation and harmonisation of warnings is crucial. South East Europe Multi-Hazard Early Warning Advisory System will provide necessary information and tools to improve our capacity for warnings and therefore contribute to the protection of lives and property in our region,” said Klemen Bergant, Director of the Meteorological and Hydrological Office of Slovenia.
The first phase in establishment of the South East Europe Multi-Hazard Early Warning Advisory System was the development of a comprehensive implementation plan for the regional system. This was funded by USAID and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and coordinated by WMO. Full establishment of the system is expected to take number of years, and is envisaged to be operational by 2023.