Asia and the Pacific remains the most disaster-prone region in the world where 2 million people have lost their lives to disasters since 1970. In 2022, over 140 disasters struck the Asia-Pacific region, leading to over 7,500 deaths, affecting over 64 million people and causing economic damage estimated at US$ 57 billion.
Since the establishment of the ESCAP Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness following the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, and through the financial contribution of US $10 million from Thailand, followed by US 2.5 million from Sweden and contributions from 10 more donor governments, 19 countries have directly benefitted from support in building regional and national end-to-end warning systems.
Following the adoption of ESCAP/RES/79/1 and the endorsement of a regional strategy to support the implementation of the Early warnings for all initiative at the eighth session of the Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction, the Trust Fund has been recognized as a fit-for-purpose regional funding mechanism to address the unmet needs in early warning systems for Asia and the Pacific.
Operating in a regionally coordinated and programmatic way, the Trust Fund has helped reduce the total cost of establishing and maintaining early warning systems substantially, as compared to the sum of costs if every country maintained its own system. Furthermore, by pooling resources, the Trust Fund facilitates South-South and triangular cooperation, this approach has been especially useful for countries that are at high risk of disasters but possess limited domestic capacity in hazard monitoring and early warning.
The afternoon of 6 November 2023, and coinciding with the World Tsunami Awareness Day, will be the 24th Advisory Council Meeting of the ESCAP Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness.