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E-Environment: Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems and Role of ICT


Early-warning messages about impending hazards that could or may cause disasters must reach all citizens including emergency response organizations, communities-at-risk, public safety organization, and others. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are an important and integral component of Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems, that manage and deliver alerting messages to those in affected areas and wider at national or international level which allows them to take action to mitigate the impacts of the hazard.

It is critical to ensure availability of infrastructures to manage early-warning and alerting, create and to effectively disseminate early-warning messages and alerts about different types of hazards over diverse communication networks and platforms – including radio, television, mobile networks, satellite networks and the Internet – ICT infrastructure including social media networks and other similar platforms. In order to ensure the above, the international community has developed and periodically updates a set of requirements that are organized into a checklist document about the components and establishment of MHEWS.

This session highlighted the importance of this checklist and launch its updated version. Also, during the session participants highlighted some of concrete solutions and discuss the importance of MHEWS checklist for a better coordination on national level, addressing better collaboration among various stakeholders, including disaster risk management agencies, meteorological and geological services, ICT regulators, NGOs, IGOs, and operators.
The session provided examples of how countries have built (interoperable warning networks) MHEWS and developed functional and effective communication strategies, platforms, and standardized communication protocols, in particular the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), an international standard for exchanging multi-hazard emergency alerts and public warnings over different types of networks.

The session further discussed existing and innovative technologies, remote monitoring tools to assess the availability of networks and readiness of communities-at-risk to receive information on time, including through social media.

The session provided the participants with the latest updates of the MHEWS checklist, advances in ICT technologies, as well as good practice experiences on the communication and dissemination of warnings and alerts. 

Panel Format