Leveraging Financing for the Early Warnings for All Initiative

05 May 2023

Implementation of Early Warnings for All (EW4All) will require significant financial resources with the Executive Action Plan calling for new targeted investments estimated at US$ 3.1 Billion. To mobilize and efficiently utilize this volume of financing, WMO and its partners are pursuing coordination between funders and implementers.

An iterative approach is being taken, focusing initially on mobilizing limited financing to support inclusive coordination at the global, regional and national levels as well as analytics that may be needed to design relevant projects in the initial 30 countries. Following an 18-month roll-out during which the proof-of-concept will be refined, the partners will scale-up resource mobilization to implement activities and projects.

A general principle agreed by the EW4All leads is to avoid developing new financing mechanisms and to keep the focus on leveraging established and proven funding and programming approaches. For WMO, this specifically means scaling up the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems Initiative (CREWS) and Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) as well as expanding existing activities such as the Flash Flood Guidance System (FFGS) and the Multi-hazard (Impact-Based) Early Warning Services (MHEWS). Donors who wish to contribute to WMO outside of these existing mechanisms will be accommodated; WMO will ensure alignment of their contributions with the overarching EW4All and specifically Pillar 2 (Detection, observation, monitoring, analysis and forecasting of hazards) plans.

WMO will strive to deliver as much assistance as possible to its Members, but the majority of investments to deliver EW4All will be implemented by development partners from United Nations programmes and specialized agencies, multilateral development banks and other operational actors. These entities will finance their activities through a combination of funding sources, including global climate and environment funds such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Adaptation Fund (AF) and Global Environmental Facility (GEF), as well as their own internal resources (for example the World Bank’s IDA for low-income countries). To help ensure alignment of partner operations under EW4All, the leads are engaging with major funders, such as the GCF, to hardwire coordination within project preparation and implementation, including specifically with SOFF and CREWS.

NMHSs should reach out to all relevant development partners in their country, recognizing that to mobilize financing from development banks and global funds, the NMHS’ parent ministry and often Ministry of Finance need to prioritize support to weather, water and climate services within their broader portfolio of development assistance. Global funds typically engage through formal national focal points, such as the National Designated Authorities (NDAs) required by the GCF, and accreditation is pre-requisite for the entities seeking funding. As such, most of investments for supporting National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) are delivered by third parties. This necessitates strong relationships between NMHSs and relevant national decision-makers and that weather, water and climate services are prioritized in government strategies and policies such as National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). WMO can assist its Members to engage with the development community and mobilize resources for implementation of the priorities of EW4All.

Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF)

SOFF was created by WMO, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It was officially launched as a global initiative and UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund at the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in November 2021. SOFF aims to support the implementation of the commitments made by the 193 Members of WMO at the World Meteorological Congress in October 2021 to establish the Global Basic Observing Network (GBON). As a dedicated, single-purpose “vertical” climate fund, SOFF provides grants and peer-to-peer technical assistance to developing countries, with a focus on Small Island Development States and Least Developed Countries, to help create and maintain the surface-based observation infrastructure that will allow the beneficiaries to exchange GBON data internationally in a sustained manner.

The countries with the biggest data gaps are also the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. They have been forcefully demanding scaled-up action to cover everyone with Early Warning Systems by 2027.

SOFF is the foundational element and a delivery vehicle of the Early Warnings for All initiative – warnings are only as good as the data they are built upon. By focusing on collection and sharing of observations, SOFF closes existing climate and weather data gaps and strengthens the data foundation that underpins early warning systems and adaptation efforts. Thus, the global public good of shared weather observations is effectively provided and frees up other development partners’ resources to focus on data processing, delivery of services and effective decision-making.

In March 2023, the funding requests of 26 countries were approved – within nine months of SOFF’s kicking off work in July 2022. The projects will be supported by 16 national meteorological services and 7 implementing entities. Funding will be programmed for at least 55 countries by June 2023. These will reflect a focus on Pacific, Caribbean and African countries and include the priority countries of the Early Warnings for All Initiative.

A diagram showing the process of soff.
The Meteorological Value Chain
WMO Secretariat

CREWS Initiative’s Accelerated Support Window

The Accelerated Support Window (ASW) is a new track for financing under the CREWS Initiative that allocates funds for short-term, targeted expert analyses, assessment and advisory services to strengthen the early warning systems (EWSs) of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The CREWS Initiative introduced ASW to further accelerate the availability of EWS in the most-at-risk countries. ASW complements CREWS Initiative multi-year projects by facilitating quick implementation actions to strengthen EWS elements and to enable conditions for their sustainability and effectiveness.

ASW fills a gap for short-term funding for action in three specific situations:

  • To support and generate required information when larger EWS investments are foreseen or to enhance the sustainability of previous EWS projects
  • To initiate support quickly in time-sensitive situations
  • To support the realization of CREWS project outputs and to contribute to the achievement of the overarching CREWS objective.

Funding criteria

ASW funding will support actions that contribute to national and local capacity to monitor, forecast and predict extreme events – actions that are essential to generate risk information, produce impact-based forecasts, communicate warnings and produce early action (preparedness and response). Those actions must align with, and support, overarching CREWS principles: people-centered, gender-responsive, promote coherence, have a multiplier effect, and stimulate private sector engagement.

In addition, the duration of such actions must be 12 months or less, except when they provide support to, or must align with, a longer duration project. ASW funding is to be in the range of US$ 50 000–US$ 125 000, with a maximum budget of US$ 250 000.


Only eligible LDCs and SIDS can request ASW funding which, if approved, will be allocated for action to CREWS implementing partners with the endorsement of the country concerned. The request – an Action Presentation Note – must be submitted to the CREWS Secretariat by a national authority or through one of the CREWS Implementing Partners. If the request comes via a CREWS Implementing Partner, a national endorsement letter must accompany the Action Presentation Note.

Approved by the CREWS Steering Committee in November 2020, ASW is ready to contribute to the call for Early Warming Systems for All (EWS4All) within five years issued by the United Nations Secretary-General in March 2022.

A step by step explanation by CREWS.
CREWS Steering Committee
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