Global leaders pledge support for risk-informed early action

11 November, 2021
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Discussion at REAP event

On Monday 8 November, the Governments of Finland, Sweden the UK and US made public declarations to support risk-informed early action that will help make one billion people safer from climate-related disasters by 2025. 

The pledges were made at a special event at COP26, organised by the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership (REAP), called “Welcome to 2025: Where Early Action is the Default”. The partnership has four ambitious targets which will drive a systemic shift towards acting earlier to reduce the impacts of climate-related disasters. The government announcements were a welcome contribution towards achieving those aims. 

The pledges made include:

United Kingdom: £33m to UK Met Office programmes supporting people-centred climate information services, plus a reiteration of financial commitments to the Start Network and the newly launched Start Ready facility.

Vijay Rangarajan, Director General of the Americas and overseas territories, at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), emphasised the value that REAP plays, saying it “is one of the initiatives that makes real things happen in the real world” and that, as one of the founding members, the UK government is committed to continuing its support. 

He said: “The particular area we're going to focus on is the data. We're giving £33m to the to the Met Office to continue their development of early warning systems. We have been doing some targeted financing of programmes - so £19.5 million for work in the Sahel, and £40m towards CLARE, which is a programme focused on Climate Adaptation and resilience R3search in Africa.” 

Mr Rangarajan also referenced the “fantastic” Start Network which has already received £10m and is receiving an additional £1m for the Start Ready facility, which the UK government will be “leaning in on”, and indicated that there will be “more [funding] to come” across the board. The sums pledged are part of a £290m pot of money that was announced this week to support global efforts to tackle the impacts of climate change

Finland: 30m to develop and implement projects to enhance weather and climate services in partner countries.

Speaking via video, Ville Skinnari, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade in the Finnish government said: “Aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement, Finland is committed to scale-up climate finance. We aim for a balanced distribution of funding between adaptation and mitigation. Meteorological cooperation is one of the priorities of Finland's development cooperation, and an important part of our adaptation finance package.”

He also called for more collaboration between Finland and other REAP partners, saying: “As a convening and board member of the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership, Finland is eager to collaborate with you all. We are keen to find synergies and create value by working in partnership with experts from humanitarian, development and climate fields. Together we can support our partners to enhance adaptation and build the resilience of all leaving no one behind. Together through all joint efforts, we can achieve the goal of making 1 billion people safer from disasters by 2025 to become a reality”.

Sweden: The Swedish government will lead by example and will make climate risk early action a strategic priority. 

Also speaking via video, Per Olsson Fridh, Minister of International Development Cooperation & Humanitarian Affairs, Sweden, said: “We know the 20% of the climate-related disasters are predictable, and that 50% of them are foreseeable. And we have clear evidence that acting ahead of crisis saves people from food insecurity, sickness, new pandemics, forced migration, displacement, and falling deeper into poverty. So mainstreaming climate risk in acting ahead of crisis is impactful assistance, and key to prevent and minimise losses and damages from climate change.”

He added: “Early action is simply the only right thing to do. The Risk-Informed Early Action Partnership is truly added-value. Actions taken in partnership through ambitious commitments is exactly what is needed to make the shift from reactive crisis response to a comprehensive proactive support and risk management. We need to act on a ripple and not on a flood.”

United States of America: 

Sezin Tokar, Senior Hydrometeorological Hazard Advisor from USAID said that the US government is committed to addressing climate change and will support ways to strengthen early warning systems, via its PREPARE strategy. Additionally, as one of the newest members of REAP, it commits to helping the partnership meet its targets by providing policy and technical support, strengthening the design and implementation of early warning systems and mapping critical enablers and barriers to early action. 

In addition, Ms. Tokar reminded our audience that the US government seeks input on its On Agency Climate Strategy: “Last week USAID also released its draft agency climate strategy for external input. So we are looking for feedback from all of you,” she said.

Ben Webster, head of secretariat for REAP, said: “COP26 has highlighted the need for greater focus on adaptation efforts, and risk-informed early action is an effective way of adapting and increasing resilience to climate change at the local level. Today’s discussion and announcements are a good indication of the growing momentum towards this agenda. We thank our partners for their efforts to date and encourage others to join us in making one billion people safer from disasters in the years to come.”

You can watch the full event here: