Belgium helps fund extreme weather forecasting for developing countries

Belgium is contributing 4 million euros to a global extreme weather warning system, Development minister Caroline Gennez announced on Tuesday. The Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) is a UN fund that aims to ensure that even the least developed countries can warn their populations of extreme weather events.

The UN's World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has calculated that extreme weather and climate-related disasters, which are becoming more frequent as a result of global warming, have caused more than 2 million deaths and 4 trillion dollars in economic damage over the past 50 years.

When these extreme weather events occur in Belgium, citizens can rely on the warnings issued by the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI). They ensure that governments and the population can prepare in good time. But poor and middle-income countries do not have the resources to properly forecast the weather or protect their populations from the effects of climate disasters.

Early Warnings for All

"For half of the world's population, these warnings come too late or not at all," says Gennez. "And that is very frustrating because timely weather warnings save lives."

That is why UN Secretary-General António Guterres introduced the "Early Warnings for All" initiative, which aims to ensure that everyone in the world has access to accurate and reliable weather forecasts by 2027.

SOFF allows small island states such as Fiji, Samoa and the Maldives, and least developed countries such as Mozambique, Chad and Ethiopia to benefit from the expertise and scientific knowledge of countries such as Belgium.

Last year, Belgium contributed 6.6 million euros to SOFF. The country is also represented on the board by the RMI, FPS Belspo and Belgian Development Cooperation.



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