Early Warning System Young Professionals Network at the 2nd Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-II): 13th-14th May, 2019 Geneva, Switzerland

Early Warning System Young Professionals Network at the 2nd Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-II): 13th-14th May, 2019 Geneva, Switzerland

Members of the Early Warning System Young Professional Network recap their  involvement and experiences from MHEWC-II 

By: Adele Young (a.young@wateryouthnetwork.org) and Erika Roxana Meléndez Landaverde (e.melendez@wateryouthnetwork.org)


The MHEWC Event 

Early warning systems have been at the forefront of helping countries and communities to prepare for and respond to all types of disasters. The second Multi-hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-II) culminated with a two-day event in Geneva at the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) headquarters. The theme: Early warning and early action towards sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies. A theme very relevant in all our minds and hearts in the aftermath of deadly floods in Mozambique. 

The conference brought together 417 experts from 206 organizations and 97 countries with the main objective of sharing good practices and experiences, strengthening multi-hazard early warning systems and advocating for the improvement of existing MHEWS through better governance, partnerships and science and technology. 

The event was organized as a pre-event to Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR2019) by the International Network for Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (IN-MHEWS) consisting of several agencies and NGOs, Early Warning Systems Young Professionals (EWSYPs) Network being one of the contributors. In the main hall of the WMO offices, we gathered with other professionals to acquire new knowledge and discuss the six main sessions. Presentations, recordings and outcomes of the sessions can be accessed online.

Young professional participation 

Compared to the first MHEWC in 2017 there was a noticeable increase in the active participation and presence of young professionals throughout the program. In total nine (9) YPs participated in the organized programme as either a keynote speaker, main session and side event panellist, discussants or rapporteurs. This was in part initiated and lobbied by EWSYP’s inclusion in the organizing committee, contributions towards concept note development and planning of a Young Professional (YP)  led side event. The EWSYP network, in its early stages, is aimed at connecting young practitioners, scientists and early career researchers to generate knowledge and share experiences and promote engagement in events such as MHEWC.

The network, alongside Practical Action, led the side event two, “Bridging disciplines and building networks to future proof MHEWS- A young professionals perspective”. For this session, we had the pleasure to be supported with the participation of Mr Giacomo Teruggi from the Climate and Water Department of the WMO as well as  Madhab Uprety from Practical Action and Adele Young, a PhD researcher from IHE-Delft. Finally, Julia Chasco joined our session as well as the main session one and  Ms Lydia Cumiskey served as the moderator. The side event two served as a platform to officially launch the EWSYP network as well as to showcase good practices and success stories of young professional contributions to designing and implementing people-centred EWS. The session also helped to expose young professional’s and senior professionals views on future steps and challenges towards engaging across different sectors to promote knowledge exchange and walk towards developing interdisciplinary people-centred EWS.

Panellist during Session 6: Governance in MHEWS

Side Event 2: Bridging disciplines and building networks to future proof MHEWS














From the side event, we learned that young professionals are critical in communicating the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to enable step changes in the EWS culture. In order to develop and design useful end-to-end MHEWS, all types of relevant experts must be included, so we can move away from the mindset that only technical professionals are responsible for EWS. YP’s coming from social backgrounds, working in the areas of risk communication and dissemination, emergency response, etc should be included in all the stages of creating a MHEWS. For this, it is important that young professionals are supported and encouraged by their senior officers so they can build their leadership, political and management skills to successfully translate YP’s efforts into innovative practices with local impact.  Finally, we all agreed that networks are a critical mechanism to enable more dialogue across different sectors, disciplines and levels. Although some are available globally (like the EWS YP network), there is a lot more that needs to be done to build such cross-sectoral networks nationally and locally.

Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) which supports the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States(SIDS) to improve weather forecasting, climate prediction and community engagement were also very instrumental in funding the participation of two young professionals to the main conference. 


EWS Young Professionals Network – MHEWC-II Workshop (Sunday, 12 May 2019)

Prior to the event, members of the network present in Geneva gathered to discuss the future direction and activities of the network. The workshop focused on developing an action plan to achieve the main objectives of the network including understanding challenges and needs of young professionals in the field, building interdisciplinary relationships and practical matters such as developing an organisational framework for the network. Some of the outcomes of the workshop highlighted the need for capacity building amongst YPs and possible sources of funding to do so. Potential areas for further research and identification of region focal points in the network More information on the workshop is available. 


Are you are Young Professional with an interest in Early Warning Systems? Learn more and join the network.


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