CREWS to finance Early Warnings Project in East Africa and Lake Victoria Region

The Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative has approved a US$ 7 million regional project to scale up hydrometeorological and Early Warning Services (EWS) in six countries in Africa in alignment with the United Nations Early Warnings for All initiative. WMO, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the World Bank will implement the project in close collaboration with several regional entities and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. The four-year project will build national and regional capacity to provide impact-based, people-centred predictions and warnings that are specific to national and local context.

The project will build on the achievements of the recently completed HIGHWAY (High Impact Weather Lake System) project, financed by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office. The HIGHWAY project strengthened the regional meteorological EWS in the Lake Victoria Basin and supported the East African Community (EAC) in developing its EWS Vision 2025. In the CREWS project, the two countries that were not covered by the HIGHWAY project, Burundi and South Sudan, will receive more targeted institutional development support. For example, assessments of their hydrometeorological monitoring networks, early warning infrastructure and institutional capacities will be conducted in order to draft a roadmap for strengthening EWS and hydrometeorological services.

The project aims to scale up EWS in East Africa and improve coverage of impact-based early warning services across Lake Victoria and surrounding communities to support Vision 2025. The project will focus on seven priority areas to achieve its goal:

  • Observations and data exchange - improve the quality and availability of observational data in the EAC region and data exchange at the international level
  • Forecasting and warning capabilities - support NMHSs to provide severe weather forecasts and impact-based early warning services
  • Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) - by supporting project participants to refresh the national and regional implementation of CAP
  • Standard operational procedures - Pilot projects will target the definition of standard operational procedures to activate the national and local early warning frameworks that are already in place
  • Anticipatory action - stakeholder platforms will be developed to define triggers for the activation of early action
  • Socio-economic cost/benefit study - this study will aim to support investment decisions related to the UN Early Warnings for All Plan
  • Gender integration - the project will aim to improve gender integration across the early warning early action value chain.

“I would like to express my deepest gratitude to CREWS for financing this development project,” stated Director General Mojwok Ogawi Modo of the Meteorological Services of South Sudan. “It provides a much-needed opportunity for the East African Community to improve their capacities in climate change adaptation both as individual countries and as a region. The fact that the project is led by WMO and executed in partnership with the World Bank and UNDRR guarantees solid execution and the sustainability of the project outcomes.”

The official launch for the project will take place in May 2023 in the East Africa region and will bring together key regional and national project stakeholders. The final outcomes of the project will demonstrate its alignment with CREWS value propositions and core programme indicators as well as the UN Early Warnings for All Initiative, led by WMO and UNDRR.


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