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Early warning systems move onto the climate finance radar

Developing countries urgently need hydro-meteorological climate services and early warning systems to help their populations prepare and respond to extreme weather events. Such events, which are becoming more intense and frequent as a result of climate change, can cause devastation in the poorer regions of the world, whether through flooding, droughts, heatwaves, cyclones, hurricanes or extreme seasonal variations.

In developing countries, and particularly Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), climate and weather information is often unreliable or unavailable. Not enough countries have comprehensive systems, and they are often not sufficiently robust or based on international standards. This greatly increases the vulnerability of local populations. It also negatively impacts upon the ability of developing countries to design climate mitigation and adaptation interventions - including through GCF funding proposals.

The need for better climate and weather information, including early warning systems, is recognised in the Paris Agreement (Article 7), and has risen up the agenda at the One Planet Summit, marking the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement. Climate financing is needed to fund these systems in developing countries. At the same time, better climate and weather information will in turn create stronger climate projects in the future, and greatly increase the resilience of populations in countries that are particularly at risk.

Neil McFarlane, GCF Adaptation Coordinator, highlighted some of GCF's engagement in this area during the Agora session of the One Planet Summit.

GCF is working with partners like the Climate Risk Early Warning System (CREWS) initiative, and organisations like the World Meteorological Organization and the World Bank to develop projects and programmes that can deliver a more integrated approach, to unlock the full potential of climate information systems.

GCF is supporting countries to provide better hydro-meteorological climate services. To date, GCF has approved over USD 492 million in projects that support climate services and early warning systems. Examples of GCF projects with a significant focus on this issue include Scaling up of modernized Climate Information and Early Warning Systems in Malawi (FP002) and Africa Hydromet Program - Strengthening Climate Resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa: Mali Country Project (FP012).