“Today, one third of the world’s people, mainly in least developed countries and small island developing states, are still not covered by early warning systems... This is unacceptable, particularly with climate impacts sure to get even worse. Early warnings and action save lives. To that end, today I announce the United Nations will spearhead new action to ensure every person on Earth is protected by early warning systems within five years. I have asked the World Meteorological Organization to lead this effort.”
Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General
On World Meteorological Day 23 March 2022
It’s been over a year now since the call of Antonio Guterres to provide, within 5 years, early warning solutions for every single person on Earth.
As an active member of the international meteorological community, and a long-term partner of NMHS throughout the world for the past 20 years, MFI has felt concerned by this challenge as soon as it was launched. We believe the approach we apply to our projects based on public-private partnerships, a holistic approach of the meteorological value chain, and a DBO (Design / Build / Operate) business model, could be the key to take up the Early Warning for All (EW4A) challenge. For the past year, MFI, led by its President Patrick Bénichou, has multiplied interventions in international events to present its strategy and try to federate all stakeholders (WMO / UN agencies, development and financing partners, NMHS, private companies) to come up with a timely, effective and sustainable EW4A solution.
Here are a few milestones of what has happened this past year:
- SEPTEMBER 2022: MFI organized an International Workshop on PPE and DBO initiatives in meteorology, attended by representatives from more than 20 countries around the world, including personalities from WMO such as Mrs. Celeste Saulo (Vice-President), Mr. Daouda Konate (President of RA-I) or Mr. Evan Thompson (President of RA-IV).
This workshop was the opportunity to discuss the Early Warning For All initiative, and for MFI to present its “W4ALL concept”, or how the DBO business model could apply to the UN objective of having an Early Warning System for each citizen within 5 years. Following the workshop, a joint declaration signed by about 20 countries established the following main principles:
🎯 Principle 1: Target integrated projects across the full Early Warning / Early Action value cycle
- Technical (data, systems) and non-technical (capacity building, procedures) aspects.
- Including vulnerability data and impact assessment for Impact Based Warning approach.
🎯 Principle 2: Dare PPE (Public Private Engagement) & DBO (Design-Build-Operate) approach
🎯 Principle 3: Qualify Public-Private Consortia
- For design, delivery, implementation, and sustainable operation of the solution over a geographical area of interest.
- Consortia qualify against high level specs and principles only (e.g., sovereignty).
🎯 Principle 4: Set-up fitted financial mechanisms
- NOVEMBER 2022: MFI's President Patrick Bénichou was invited to a side event of the COP 27, held in Egypt, to give a presentation on public - private approaches for climate adaptation projects. It was there again the opportunity to push and present the W4ALL concept, also announcing that MFI could lead a consortium based on W4ALL principles, involving French skilled companies like PREDICT Services, specialized in flood risk prevention and management. Mrs. Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, gave explicit support to MFI's strategy.
- FEBRUARY 2023: Patrick Bénichou was invited to the WMO Regional Association for Africa Conference, held in Addis Ababa. He participated to a meeting dedicated to the necessary digital transformation of National Hydromet Services in order for them to better perform their duties, especially in the field of service delivery and early warning. He presented MFI’s approach to successfully carry out efficient and sustainable modernization projects for NMHS, based on DBO model and public-private partnership. He also took advantage of his intervention to point out the relevance of the DBO-PPE approach with regard to the Early Warning For All initiative: bringing together advanced National Hydromet Services, global data providers and private expert companies (including those capable of ensuring the “last mile dissemination” for warnings) could be the key to this universal challenge!
- MARCH 2023: the VIGICLIMM Project, designed by MFI for the benefit of the Meteorological Department of the SODEXAM in Ivory Coast, is officially launched. It includes the first implementation of an integrated Early Warning / Early Action value chain, based on a pure DBO-PPE approach. Besides, MFI and SODEXAM also signed a partnership agreement to enlarge the scope of their cooperation and be able to extend their common field of intervention to other countries of West Africa... fully in line with the W4ALL concept, and the possibility of a "regional" implementation of an Early warning / Early Action value cycle relying on a "Host NMHS", serving smaller NMHS or other stakeholders from eligible countries (identified by UN).
- SO WHAT IS NEXT? From May the 22nd till June the 2nd, the 19th Congress of WMO will be held in Geneva. No doubt the Early Warning For All intiative will be at the center of many conferences and debates. MFI will be a participating to an exhibition organized during the Congress from May 24th till 26th. It will be the opportunity for us and a list of supportive member States to continue pushing the W4ALL concept with the objective to progress on the issues that still need to be adressed in order for it to become a reality: suited financings for the DBO model, more flexible procurement conditions when needed, cooperation mechanisms between reference countries and less developped countries, so that no one is left behind... MFI, with its wide experience of integrator, is ready to federate actors and move forward. The clock is ticking, it’s time for action! For those present in Geneva, we will be happy to welcome you on our stand (#21) to discuss all these exciting subjects!