- A recent analysis of the scientific linkages between climate change and pest and disease outbreaks from TMG Think Tank and IGAD’s Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) reveals how global warming changes the dynamics of pest population and expansion.
- New and nascent technologies can now pre-empt many of the most destructive anthropogenic-induced disasters and are at the design and operational core of novel early warning-early action systems (EWS). For instance, artificial intelligence (AI) can excel in the prediction of desert locust outbreaks, with the location of breeding grounds forecast 70 days in advance with a 90% probability.
- Early warnings, however, must be followed by sound early action. Concerning a predicted drought, heatwave, or flood, farmers would be prompted to cultivate less water-intensive crops or harvest early in the case of floods.
- More investment in ‘pre-programmed’ early action, parallel and in conjunction with early warning is needed.
The Global Commission on Adaptation’s 2019 flagship report found that the EWS provide more than a tenfold return on investment. These include:
- With the nature and dimensions of risks forever changing, EWS need to be highly responsive and holistic, acknowledging the interconnectedness and cascading feature of crises.
- In the absence of EWS, increasingly the world will be faced with humanitarian catastrophe, notwithstanding a downward spiral of communities into the depths of extreme poverty and famine. Their absence also leads to the material prospect of a disturbing number of ‘climate refugees’ – either internally (2021 registered 2.5 million climate-displaced persons in sub-Saharan Africa) or internationally.
- Ultimately, for EWS to succeed, they will need to be cast within a framework of an agile and receptive governance model.
- Crises invariably transcend borders, requiring intergovernmental coordination and international collaboration.
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