COP28 continued yesterday in Dubai at the Canada Pavilion. One of the discussion sessions focused on the theme “Leaving No One Behind: Collaborating to Scale Up Early Warnings for All by 2027.” Minister of Planning and Development, Pennelope Beckles, cautioned that Early Warning Systems, while effective, come with complexities and costs.
Anew United Nations (UN) report released yesterday found that 101 countries now have some sort of Early Warning System in place, up six from last year and double the number in 2015. UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, introduced the Early Warnings for All initiative in 2022 with a vision to establish an effective early warning system for every person on earth by the end of 2027.
In her contribution, Minister Beckles, who holds responsibility for the environment , alluded to the expense of Early Warning Systems but also went further in saying that the systems require maintenance and financial backing. She said, “Even as we speak of policy, similarly to talking about your 2030 agenda or your Sustainable Development Goals, there are timeframes when the issue of financing is always very critical. That, of course, is one of the challenges for Small Island Development States (SIDs) so you establish your Early Warning Systems which needs continuous updating, which needs regular maintenance because you have to select sites that are themselves often very challenging.”
Small Island Development States (SIDs) are at increased risks for climate related disasters and Minister Beckles warned that rural communities need to be included in the conversation when it comes to Early Warning Systems stressing that: “While in T&T we can talk about relatively good coverage as it relates to internet access and coverage as it relates to telecom, there are still rural communities that don’t always have the benefit of those kinds of assistance so there is a relationship between your Early Warning Systems and the extent to which timely, accurate information can reach to all communities.” She called for proper linkages between modern technology and traditional methods of early warning that are used by rural communities.