Monday, 06 February, 2023

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New financing mechanism for climate action becomes operational


A new finance mechanism to strengthen weather and climate observations, improve early warnings to save lives, protect livelihoods and underpin climate adaptation for long-term resilience has opened its doors for business.

The Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) is a key building block for a new initiative spearheaded by United Nations Secretary-General General António Guterres to ensure that early warning services reach everyone in the next five years.

SOFF seeks to address the long-standing problem of missing weather and climate observations from Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.

Heads of the three founding agencies, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP), ministers from donor countries, representatives of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Group and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and development partners met at the first SOFF Steering Committee meeting in Helsinki at the Finnish Meteorological Institute to open SOFF doors for business.

SOFF becomes operational thanks to the support from many partners and the initial financial contributions from Austria, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, and the Nordic Development Fund.

Support is expected to grow as additional countries that consider potential future funding attended the meeting.

“As the climate crisis worsens, it is crucial that we boost the power of prediction for everyone so countries can reduce disaster risk.  That is why we have launched an initiative to ensure that every person on Earth is protected by early warning systems within the next five years.  The Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) is an essential tool to achieve this.  I thank all the countries that are providing initial funding to the SOFF UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund and urge others to do the same.”

António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General Genera

Experts say early warning systems are built on the foundation of weather observation data, but this foundation is patchy to non-existent in many in LDCs and African countries.

Today, less than 10% of required basic weather and climate observations are available from Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries.