27, May, 2014
LEARNING ALLIANCE HIGHLIGHT

ELLA Learning Alliance on Climate Resilient Cities – Discussion 5: Early Warning Systems

Based on case studies of Brazilian, Colombian and Bolivian experiences with early warning systems (EWS) for sudden-onset extreme weather events in urban areas, experts from Africa, Latin America and Asia examined how EWS may be enhanced in their cities.

In Discussion 5 of the online learning programme, Latin American experiences with early warning systems (EWS) in the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Santa Cruz and La Paz, Bolivia, as well as Medellin and San Juan de Pasto, Colombia, were shared with participants. In particular, these cases demonstrate the importance of monitoring technologies, access to information and community involvement in efforts to reduce the impacts of extreme weather events in urban areas.

Experts from Africa, Asia and Latin America discussed existing EWS in their cities as well as the challenges to improving efficiency.  On the whole, participants felt that significant improvements could be made to local EWS and that much could be learnt from the Latin American examples. Where formal EWS do not exist, participants felt that a series of informal systems was positively influencing disaster risk reduction in their cities.

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Key Conclusions:

  • Investments in city-level monitoring and information dissemination technologies would greatly improve existing EWS.
  • The practices used in the Latin America EWS, particularly those employed in the city of Rio de Janeiro, were felt to be highly applicable in cities across the three regions.
  • Poor illiteracy rates, low socio-economic levels and lack of access to technology among high risk populations present challenges to the effectiveness of early warning systems.

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Other ELLA knowledge materials relating to City-level Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation:

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LEARNING ALLIANCE HIGHLIGHTS

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