There is an increasing need for countries to develop Early Warning Systems (EWS) as the threat of high impact climate events increase and as the population at risk continues to increase in coastal and riverine floodplains. It is important that hydrometeorological systems such as EWSs are established and sustained since funding available to build capacity in developing countries is not likely to increase given a tightening global economy. However, the current project approach used by donors and development banks for establishing hydrometeorological systems is not working.
A recent study conducted by USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance revealed that many past hydrometeorological projects have not been sustained and further lessons documented from these projects has not been learned. In February, 2015 USAID/OFDA sponsored a Lessons Learned forum primarily to understand why lessons in hydrometeorological projects are identified but not learned or if they are learned, how are they learned. If they are not learned, how can the process be fixed? The outcome of this Forum was the Antalya Statement , which generated six Disaster Risk Reduction Calls to Actions of which two concern EWS and “Learning” from Lessons.
Some past Hydrometeorological projects have succeeded. In fact Lessons lave been identified that are necessary for successful projects and conversely many factors that tend to cause projects & systems to fail are also known. Its time to change how hydrometeorological projects are conducted. Donors and partners involved in hydtrometeorological modernization projects need to change how to build systems if sustainability is to be realized.