Cambodia, in collaboration with the UN and its partners, is working on strategies to support the UN’s Early Warnings for All (EW4All) initiative. This effort aims to bolster the Kingdom’s early warning systems, with a focus on adapting to climate change and mitigating the impact of natural disasters.

A UN in Cambodia press release explained that UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres launched the initiative last November, during the COP27 climate change conference. Its goal is to ensure that everyone in the world is safeguarded by early warning systems within the next five years.

A national-level consultation workshop convened on October 4. In attendance were representatives of the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), UN in Cambodia, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

According to the UN, the EW4All programme will support Cambodia by strengthening its early warning systems and fortifying disaster resilience. The mission encompasses four crucial pillars of early warning systems: understanding disaster risk, monitoring and forecasting, communication and preparedness and response capacity.

Hang Samoeun, deputy chairman of the NCDM, described the workshop as a significant milestone in Cambodia’s efforts to implement disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation measures.

“As a nation, Cambodia is working to strengthen its disaster preparedness and early warning systems, with the aim of safeguarding lives, empowering communities and fostering a resilient future for all,” he said.

The workshop attendees acknowledged the existence of gaps at the global, regional and national levels when it comes to translating early warnings into practical and effective actions. Numerous efforts are required, addressing awareness, institutional capacity, connectivity issues, community involvement, preparedness planning and adequate funding.

“Cambodia is prone to climate-induced hazards, such as floods, droughts or storms. These pose significant risks to communities, agriculture, infrastructure, the economy and the overall development of the country,” said Jo Scheuer, UN resident coordinator in Cambodia.

“Early warning systems are proven to be powerful and effective tools that can contribute to mitigating the impact of climate-induced disasters and, as a result, build a more resilient nation,” he added.

“EW4All will play a crucial role in accelerating investment to address the vulnerability of Cambodia to climate change by improving early warning systems and enhancing resilience,” he continued.

The UN press release, said workshop attendees conducted a review of the existing state of early warning systems in Cambodia and evaluated the advancements made in executing EW4All.

The participants reached a consensus on the establishment of a national coordination mechanism dedicated to EW4All. This will utilise existing disaster management frameworks, while aiming to promote cooperation and harmonisation among stakeholders. The objective is to facilitate the deployment of early warning systems across the entire nation.

“The insights gained from these discussions will shape the country’s EW4All implementation roadmap for 2024-2027,” said Claire Conan, country director for the World Food Programme-Cambodia (WFP), which serves as the local coordinator for this undertaking.

“Through partnerships and collaboration with national and global leaders in disaster risk reduction, the WFP is committed to contributing to timely and effective early warnings for every Cambodian. Together, we’re building resilience and shaping a safer future,” she added.