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Meteorological Services for Improved Humanitarian Planning and Response. Global Context: Early-Warning in UNICEF. Early-Warning / Early-Action (EWEA) system. Global system: connecting all 130 UNICEF country offices for regular analysis, capable of generating global alerts

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Global Context: Early-Warning in UNICEF and Response

Early-Warning / Early-Action (EWEA) system.

Global system: connecting all 130 UNICEF country offices for regular analysis, capable of generating global alerts

Operational Center (OPSCEN).

24/7 working unit, NY-based: working on emergency support and background analysis of risks

Early-Warning and Preparedness (EWP) unit.

Geneva-based: working on improving global risk analysis methodologies, operational field and regional support and inter-agency cooperation in provisional risk analysis, early-warning and preparedness.

Early-Warning and UNICEF Planning cycle: and Responsethe 5 years cycle

Include emergency risk management programming (DRR, CD for CCCs)

Includes an assessment of emergency risks on the organization and an emergency risk management plan






Includes assessment of emergency risks, vulnerabilities and capacities of national partners

Early-Warning and UNICEF Planning cycle: and Responsethe rolling work plan







Use of Hydromet information presently and Response

Global Level:

UNICEF 24/7 OPSCEN and Early-Warning and Preparedness units are connected to some Hydro-meteorological information to inform analyses but not very consistently.

Regional Level: Emergency unit of the Regional Offices, also not very consistently.

Country Offices: Emergency focal point. This varies a lot from country to country from no monitoring / no link with Hydromet service at all to regular monitoring.

Type of linkages:

Media and open-source alerts. In some countries institutionalised direct linkages with hydromet services but this is more the exception than the rule

Country level example : Guatemala and Response

  • Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrología (INSIVUMEH), scientific arm of the Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED) produces regular bulletins on natural phenomena, damages and response needs (to Government and UN/NGOs)

  • UNICEF Guatemala regularly reviews INSIVUMEH webpage to get information on quarterly, monthly and weekly pronostics. (including the sub-regional information)

  • There is no direct tecnical cooperation between INSIVUMEH and UNICEF, but support exists through CONRED.

Country level example : Bolivia and Response

  • Receiving information twice a week from SENAMHI (Servicio Nal. de Meteorología e Hidrología), together with other agencies members of UNETE (IASC) on precipitactions, temperatures, winds in the next 3-4 days.

  • SENAMHI also sends a quarterly boletin on El Niño/La Niña.

  • Info is sent to local teams (6) who share with local municipalities.

  • The information (hidrológica) most used for possible flooding is coming from the Servicio Nal de Hidrografía Naval, which reports weekly river water levels in the Amazonas and Río de la Plata zones.

  • It would be needed to get more real time information from SENAHMI , especially for Chaco and Amazonas region.

Country level example : Guyana and Response

  • National Early Warning System (EWS) Study: project for EWS arrangement s coordinated through the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) for which the Hydromet Service of the Ministry of Agriculture is the main source of information.

  • UNICEF Guyana CO receives Hydromet information and alerts through the CDC in bilateral communications and through general media releases.

  • As a full participant in the EWS Study process, the CO will have systematic linkages to Hydromet in the finalised EWS.

  • It is expected the linkage between the UNICEF Guyana CO and the Guyana Hydromet service (and by extension regional & global Met services) will be strengthened through the overall national DRR context.

Country level example : Recommendations from Guyana and Response

Priority Specific Recommendations for Institutional and cross cutting issues:

1. Government, auxiliary, NGO, private sector need to all be working together.

2. Overcome institutional weaknesses through Institutional reform and Government programme.

3. Strengthen links between disaster risks, climate change, development programmesand poverty reduction (Government Sustainability Committee).

4. Clarify institutional roles and responsibilities, and officialise them through MoUs(although not always honoured), policies, and preferably legislation & acts.

5. Improve understanding and effective communication of climate risks and weather warnings to all relevant decision makers, especially local Government.

Country level example : Recommendations from Guyana and Response

6. Ensure clear and user-friendly procedures, good practice and manuals to mitigate the lack of institutional memory and problems with staff continuity.

7. Establish a clear data policy (mandates, sharing).

8. Engaging Communities: Volunteer network trained and empowered to receive and widely disseminate hazard warnings to remote households and communities, to help strengthen community capacity to deal with disasters, and communities empowered as a source of information (including traditional knowledge).

9. Promoting research to strengthen EWS, e.g., watershed flood modelling or river and sea defences with Suriname, use of new Brazilian climate prediction model, …

Regional level example : LAC and Response

  • REDLAC : regional inter-agency coordination (UN/NGOs) mechanism

  • Information from CATHALAC (Centro del Agua del Tropico Humedo para America Central y el Carribe)

  • No direct cooperacion agreement

  • Regular information bulletins produced by REDLAC using information from CATHALAC and shared with humanitarian agencies.

Regional level examples lac
Regional level examples : LAC and Response

  • UNICEF DRR action in LAC region:

    • Education (collaboration with Education Ministries on School Disaster Management Plans, formal and informal DRR education, Education in emergencies, etc.)

    • Emergency preparedness and response (capacity building with governments/local authorities), inter-agency work (UNETE).


    • UNESCO/IOC: Projects with 4 countries on EW in schools (tsunami): Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile (communication between Met/scientific institutes and national education authorities)

    • UNESCO-CEPREDENAC – regional project for Central-America on EW in schools (DIPECHO).

Potential use of Hydromet information and Response

Medium-term regular hydrological and meteorological analytical information would be useful per region for the next month, for the next season and for the year, coupled with alerts if needs be in the next week. This information would be useful inter-agency, not only for UNICEF.

At regional level the connection in UNICEF shall be made with the emergency teams in each region

At country level the connection in UNICEF shall be made with the emergency focal points.

A global level, in UNICEF it could be disseminated automatically through UNICEF early-warning/early action system, with emails to UNICEF Operational Center and to the Early-Warning and Preparedness unit.

Potential improvement of existing UNICEF Early-Warning processes

EWEA system:

At the moment, OPSCEN /ROs send manual alerts through the system if an alerting information is identified.

However, if the system was directly connected to reliable hydromet sources, able to send relevant evidence-based alerts, those alerts could also be sent automatically through the system to the relevant stakeholders. This connection is not established as now.

Contingency / preparedness planning:

These exercises at the moment are based on assumptions by humanitarian specialists. If long-term scientific previsions were available, this could improve the reliability and the prioritisation of these exercises.

Potential improvement of existing unicef early warning processes
Potential improvement of existing UNICEF Early-Warning processes

Disaster Risk Reduction Programmes

  • Promotion of linkages between Met services and National Disaster Management institutes national, municipal level).

  • Promotion of involvement of Education authorities into Disaster Management Plans (including Met services linkages)

  • Involvement of Met/scientific institutes in disaster risk mapping and VCA analysis (national, local)

  • Promotion of development of EW communication/information channels and messages intended to community (& children)

  • Community participation into EWS (including children)

  • Need better real time information & medium term forecasts

Level of expertise and existing cooperation processes

No technical expertise on hydro-meteorological science: any information that would come to UNICEF would have to be pre-analysed by specialists and turned into plain language with indication of possible humanitarian consequences before reaching UNICEF

No institutionalised linkages with hydromet services throughout the organisation: Regular UNICEF early-warning analyses at country level are often made without knowledge of the forecasts and analyses done by hydromet experts. At inter-agency level WMO has not yet participated in the drafting of the IASC EWEA report