World Climate Foundation
Financing Software Data & Communication Technology for Public safety
Authors: Rachele Gianfranchi, Government Affairs, Dominic Jones SVP, Business Development, Everbridge
World Climate Summit – The Investment COP 26 provides an opportunity for Everbridge to showcase its expertise in bringing together leading public and private sector organizations to address climate change and associated risks through resilience-building technology solutions. Specifically, this event will open a dialogue about pragmatic solutions that build safer, more resilient, and inclusive responses to critical events created by climate change. Join Everbridge at its Workshop Unlocking Resilience to Enhance Public Safety at the World Climate Summit on 8 November.
Software technology is all around us – sometimes excessively present in our lives, and sometimes clearly missing where and when it is needed most. Such is the case during hazardous events and emergencies, whether due to extreme climate conditions or other manmade disruptions. Often the countries at the mercy of the most severe weather have the slimmest fiscal means – they are the least equipped and prepared to adapt to the changing climate conditions.
An effective and efficient way of boosting climate adaptation is the adoption of Public Warning and Critical Event Management technology.
Public warning systems save lives by alerting people early in emergencies. By leveraging existing telecom infrastructure, with no opt-in required, implementing the common alerting protocol (CAP) if requested, current Public Warning software can reach everyone, within a geographic area to reduce disaster risk, support first responder communications, and analyze the effectiveness of crisis communications deriving situational awareness for future emergencies.
According to the Hydromet Alliance Gap Report (2021), investment in early Public Warning systems creates benefits worth at least 10 times their costs and is vital to building extreme weather resilience. Still, of the 73 countries having informed the World Meteorological Organization, only 40% currently have an effective multi-hazard early warning system.
Critical Event Management is a framework for responding to incidents and mitigating harm during and after emergencies. Consisting of four distinct steps – Assess, Locate, Act, and Analyze – the CEM framework improves public safety by accelerating response time, facilitating collaboration, and reducing errors that sometimes come with quick decision making during hazardous events. The CEM technology has the ability to ingest and analyze any risk-related data source creating an alert should a material change occur or a set threshold be breached such as flood levels, volcano ash density in the air, and the likes.
Both are important tools for the public sector to ensure public safety and for the private sector business continuity and duty of care to their employees.
So important that in some countries they have become mandatory. The European Union in 2018 mandated that all 27 EU member states must adopt an efficient Public Warning system: “By 21 June 2022, Member States shall ensure that, when public warning systems regarding imminent or developing major emergencies and disasters are in place, public warnings are transmitted by providers of mobile number-based interpersonal communications services to the end-users concerned”. This is an important precedent, worth exporting globally to promote faster adaptation to changing climate conditions.
Governments and public sector entities around the world are increasingly relying on global insurance and capital markets to strengthen their economic resilience to natural disasters. In parallel, governments also need to explore the adoption of Public Warning systems to enhance their resilience to extreme climate events and reduce their vulnerability to natural and pandemic disasters.
Since the cost of natural disasters can affect sovereign creditworthiness, development finance organizations are paying increasing attention at the last mile of the hydrometeorological chain, aka the capacity to transform data in informed decisions and take action to save people and infrastructures from climate and other critical events.
Everbridge collaboration with parametric insurance policy partner providers: Event lifecycle from preparedness to recovery
To maximize the relief efforts of non-profit and humanitarian organizations, technology offers a chance of operating upstream on risk reduction and organizational preparedness for the most critical and least expected events – improving their predictability, their management, the emergency communication capacity of responders, and situational awareness in the aftermath of the event. The impact on climate adaptation, loss and damage, and mitigation is yet unmeasured, but certainly promises to be significant.
By automating the workflow between the identification of an imminent disaster, the deployment of preventive measures, and the coordination of emergency responses, the partnership between Finance and Technology can help governments reduce their climate risk exposure, multiply charities’ resources for disaster relief efforts, and expedite much-needed funding.
But something promising is on the horizon – increased collaboration between global insurance companies, which play a growing role in public sector disaster risk financing, and technology firms with global expertise and decades-long experience in crisis mitigation. Such partnerships can effectively enhance resilience to disasters, reduce economic costs. Organizing better, faster responses and providing data analysis improves the resilience to critical events, such as extreme climate events and pandemics.
The Climate Policy Institute reported that global climate finance flows reached USD $632 billion in 2019/2020. Part of these flows is due to the considerable effort of multilateral development banks (MDBs) making important commitments to climate financing to align their operations with Disaster Risk Resilience (DRR). But the lion’s share goes to climate mitigation, only a fraction to adaptation.
Global Landscape of Climate Policy Finance 2021, Climate Policy Institute
As mentioned in the World Bank GFDRR Strategy 2021-2025: “Nearly US $100 trillion in infrastructure investments will be required to meet the global demand over the next 20 years for access to electricity, transportation, telecommunication, and water services. However, infrastructure planned and designed without considering disaster risks is a threat to life and property, and poses a significant contingent liability for governments. […] In low- and middle-income countries, natural hazards cause US$18 billion annually in direct damages to power and transport infrastructure. These costs increase to US $390 billion annually when estimating the household and firm losses on account of infrastructure disruptions. With a changing climate and large investments in infrastructure taking place in many countries, inaction to address disaster risk in the 2020s could cost US$1 trillion more.”
Adaptation implies unlocking resilience. Adaptation calls for the adoption of functioning public warning and critical event management systems. Covering the last mile of the hydrometeorological value chain is an effective and efficient way of boosting climate adaptation.
A closer collaboration between financial risk mitigation products and risk-reducing technology as an effective climate adaptation strategy is a partnership well worth pursuing.