2020 will be remembered as a year that revealed some important truths for a young CREWS Initiative — but ones that should embolden us.
COVID-19 did impact our work and timelines. It will continue to do so for some time still. The global travel ban tested our business model. Our national and regional partners, supported by our implementing partners — the World Bank/Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) — showed resilience and creativity in finding solutions to a new reality. They also took on greater ownership and responsibilities on project activities in a challenging year.
As this 2020 Annual Report shows, there was progress in our work and achievements. Not least finding that agro-met services for pilot communities in Burkina Faso had led to significantly increased crop yields and profits two years running which farmers had ploughed back into education, health and enterprise.
2020 also marked a new phase for us. First generation projects evolved and expanded — particularly in the Pacific and West Africa — while new activities began elsewhere. By year-end, CREWS projects covered 57 countries globally. The pertinence of a new initiative to strengthen climate resilience in five South West Indian Ocean countries was underscored as Mozambique was hit by more tropical storms and then Cyclone Eloise in early 2021. The green light to help a highly vulnerable Haiti put in place an effective multi-hazard early warning system was also given.
These and other developments demonstrated the growing recognition and relevance of our expertise and services. In 2020, Finland became the 8th CREWS Member, contributing about US$ 6 million to our Trust Fund. A 10 million Euro contribution announced by the European Commission has increased our financial momentum. We are very grateful that some countries contributing to the CREWS Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) have renewed their commitments, with France making multiple contributions. Since 2017, total contributions to the Trust Fund have more than tripled. With this growth comes greater accountability and responsibilities. An external evaluation of the CREWS Initiative so far will guide our efforts further by showing if we are on track to achieve our goals.
We continued to contribute our expertise and experience to existing partnerships, while establishing new ones to help save lives. We have teamed up with organizations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to strengthen the early warning services’ role of its national societies in CREWS projects.
Looking ahead, our vision for the next five years is captured in an operational plan to reach more countries and enhance the effectiveness of current operations. The CREWS Operational Plan for 2021-2025 will sustain our efforts in the long-term and ensure our impact is on those most in need. The role of women, as leaders in such efforts, is emphasized.
An enhanced business model will enable greater operational agility and private sector engagement. We will, however, require far greater resources to meet early warning service demand. As it is, US$ 32 million are sought for existing pipeline projects. An ambitious resource mobilization drive will seek to raise US$ 107m by 2025. We look forward to your engagement and support.
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development, Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg