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International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Platform for the Promotion of Early Warning

Early warning actors
Main participants in early warning systems - United Nations authorities - Links to early warning organizations and issues

United Nations authorities

The main UN organisations concerned with early warning are described below. More UN organizations are listed in the list of links to early warning organizations and issues.

WMO - World Meteorological Organization
Over the last decade, hydro-meteorological hazards have claimed 71 per cent of all lives lost to disasters. WMO links 185 National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) around the world, together with a secretariat in Geneva. As the authorized entities to issue meteorological and hydrological warnings to public, NMHSs play a central role in early warning. WMO programmes include the Natural Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Programme (DPM), a newly established cross-cutting function to integrate the many activities being carried out under the various WMO Programmes in the area of disaster prevention and mitigation.

UNEP - United Nations Environment Programme
Environment degradation is acknowledged to play an increasing role in worsening disasters, and at the same time, natural disasters have strong impacts on the environment. UNEP’s Division of Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA) provides the world community with improved access to environmental data and information, and helps increase the capacity of governments to use environmental information for decision-making and action planning for sustainable human development.

FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization
FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) provides updates and analyses of data on food production, trade, food aid, stocks, consumption and sub national food security are provided. GIEWS has developed a computer workstation for data management and early warning analysis, ranging from crop monitoring using up-to-date satellite images to estimating food import requirements.

WHO- World Health Organization
Health is defined in the WHO Constitution as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Natural disasters have strong impact on human’s health. Early warning together with organized disaster preparedness activities can reduce the negative health impacts of natural disasters.

OCHA - Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Timely and accurate information is integral to humanitarian action in natural disasters and this requires effective early warning systems. OCHA’s information management activities support humanitarian decision making and response by providing systems for the collection, analysis, dissemination and exchange of key information and early warning data.

WFP - World Food Programme
When natural or man-made disasters strike, food aid is in urgent need. WFP manages the provision and transportation of millions of tons of food aid and needs early warning information helps to identify likely areas of need and to prepare for and react to emergencies.

UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNESCO supports a number of activities on water resources, including water-related disasters, and on oceanography, and more generally education is an important tool to engage people in community based risk management and the effective use of early warning.

UNCCD - United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
Desertification is a land degradation process that happens in many regions of the world, and is associated with both human factors and climate change. It is strongly associated with droughts and famine, and so early warning is an important tool to forecast these phenomena and enable appropriate responses. UNCCD has established a framework to facilitate information flow and coordination of activities related to ecological monitoring, natural resources mapping, remote sensing and early warning systems.

UNFCCC - United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The objective of the UNFCCC is to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a low enough level to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Early warning systems are recognized as having a key role in managing weather extremes and hence adapting to climate change.

UNU/EHS - United Nations University/Institute for Environment and Human Security
UNU aims "to contribute, through research and capacity building, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems that are the concern of the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States.” The new institute on environment and human security is a neighbour of the Platform for the Promotion of Early Warning and plans to collaborate on disaster and early warning issues.