Meteorological Services for
Improved Humanitarian Planning
and Response
Unite for Children
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
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, earlywarning and preparedness.
Early-Warning and UNICEF
Planning cycle: the 5 years cycle
COUTRY
PLANNING
DOCUMENT
Includes
assessment of
emergency risks,
vulnerabilities
and capacities of
national partners
SITUATION
ANALYSIS
Include
emergency risk
management
programming
(DRR, CD for
CCCs)
UPDATES OF
EMERGENCY RISK
MANAGEMENT
THROUGH YEARLY/
ROLLING
PRGRAMMING AND
THROUGH THE
EWEA SYSTEM
COUNTRY
PROGRAM
ACTION PLAN
COUNTRY
PROGRAM
MANAGEMENT
PLAN
Includes an
assessment of
emergency
risks on the
organization
and an
emergency risk
management
plan
Early-Warning and UNICEF Planning
cycle: the rolling work plan
REGULAR
UPDATES OF
RISKS AND
STRATEGIES
ALL ROLLING
PROGRAMME
PROCESSES
INCLUDE RISK
REDUCTION,
REGULAR
UPDATES OF
RISKS AND
STRATEGIES
FIRST WKPLAN:
RISK ASSESSMENT
AND RISK MNGMT
PLANNING
Use of Hydromet information
presently
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
 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
 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
 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
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
programmes and 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
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
 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
• 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:
– 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 CentralAmerica on EW in schools (DIPECHO).
Potential use of Hydromet
information
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
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
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 earlywarning 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
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Harmonized Emergency Risk Management in UNICEF