Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems initiative builds momentum

25 June 2024

The Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems initiative (CREWS) supported new or improved forecasting and warning services for 125 million people in 19 countries in 2023, according to its new annual report. Altogether, at least 396 million people have CREWS-supported forecasting and early warning services since 2017. 

The annual report, called “ Building Momentum,” is packed with facts, figures and case studies of how CREWS funding has helped the poorest and most climate vulnerable people protect their lives and livelihoods in the face of climate danger countries by strengthening resilience and building early warning systems against hazards such as floods and drought.  

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the World Bank Group/Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) are implementing partners of CREWS. In 2023, there were 12 donor countries which are CREWS Members. The growing membership and financial support testify to the relevance, urgency and value of CREWS work. 

“Early warning systems are the linchpin of climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction. We embarked on the 'Early Warnings for All' initiative because every person on Earth needs to have access to timely, authoritative, and life-saving weather and climate risk information. CREWS is an important vehicle to achieve this goal,” writes WMO Secretary-General Celeste Saulo in the report. 

CREWS is a key partner in the international drive to ensure that everyone is covered by early warning services by the end of 2027. It prioritizes Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. 

“The vision of the Early Warnings for All initiative … created new opportunities for people-centred, science-based and effective multi-hazard early warning systems at scale. We continued to build national and international momentum in our mission,” says Gerard Howe, Chair of the CREWS Steering Committee and Head, Adaptation, Nature & Resilience Department Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, UK. 

“Our country-driven financing will enable national institutions to benefit from the wider and growing range of expertise and services, supporting their remits to serve and protect. Our operational momentum gathered by meeting high demand for accelerated support financing,” he writes in the foreword to the report.  

“With 24 active or new projects and quick interventions in 2023, funds committed to follow up projects in the Caribbean and Niger, and a new initiative in Djibouti, we doubled CREWS operations in three years. We must maintain this drive while simultaneously and confidently communicating achievements. However, we must continually improve. 2024 will see a more comprehensive and robust CREWS system to monitor our results, assess our impact, and use our learning for even greater impact,” writes Mr Howe.  

2023 at a glance 

The Annual Report captures progress and results against quantified indicators.  

  • 125.26 million people from 19 different countries in Africa, Asia Pacific and the Caribbean had new or improved forecasting and / or warning services. 
  • This includes 73.7 million people in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger now better protected from flash floods with more timely and accurate forecasts and warnings on a rapid onset hazard. An initial review in Mali shows it had already saved lives, according to the report. 
  • There are new or ongoing community-based support and outreach involving agrometeorological, flood and other hazard early warning and response services for 9.2 million people in 5 countries. 
  • 58 national plans, strategies and laws on early warning developed with CREWS support and approved since 2017. 


Innovation, smart technology and tailored products for farmers, fishermen, and populations in Chad, Togo, Fiji and Jamaica exemplify CREWS’ people-first focus for direct reach with targeted solutions and full-value chain approaches.  

Adapted operations in Sudan and Afghanistan offer new solutions to better serve populations left increasingly exposed from hazards and conflict. This agility is critical in order to reach vulnerable populations without minimum weather and climate services during conflict or fragility.  

The go-ahead on a joint initiative with the Green Climate Fund to scale up early warning finance will see a first roll out in five countries in Africa, Asia Pacific, and the Caribbean. 2023 also saw increasing momentum in recognition of CREWS.  

CREWS Members 

There are now 12 CREWS members. Austria, Monaco and Norway in 2023 pledged a combined USD 18.32 million to the CREWS Initiative. They joined existing members Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. 

Contributions from new and existing Members provided an additional $28.5 million in 2023, with France doubling of its yearly contribution to 8 million Euros.  

By the end of 2023, pledges and contributions to the CREWS Initiative totalled USD 130.48 million since the Trust Fund inception in 2017. Of this, USD 104.39 million was received.  

“CREWS’ unabated ambition and commitment to provide people-centred early warnings for all will further drive momentum. Together, we will translate this into greater results in 2024,” writes Mr Howe.