The global economy could reduce $100 billion a year in climate change-linked losses by providing the most vulnerable countries with "climate services" to help them prepare, a United Nations expert panel recommended Thursday.
The panel proposed creating a $75 million-a-year U.N.-administered agency, or program, to help developing nations deal with an increasing onslaught of tropical cyclones, storm surges, floods and droughts.
The World Meteorological Organization _ the U.N.'s weather agency _ said most of the funding would come through development aid, and then be handed out for specific projects in the most vulnerable nations.
It said in a statement that more surveillance and early warning information is needed because about 90 percent of disasters in recent decades were caused by weather or climate-related hazards. It said the findings were based on concerns raised at a 2009 world climate conference
We want to make "the best possible information available to decision-makers," organization director Michel Jarraud said.
The WMO said that the hazards currently lead to economic losses of $100 billion per year, "are rising, and can inhibit the pace of development by years if not decades."
The panel was co-chaired by former U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland, who now heads the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, and former Egyptian water minister Mahmoud Abu Zeid.
Egeland said better flood monitoring and other early warning climate-service systems would produce "great benefits in terms of reduced disaster risks, increased food security, improved health and more effective adaptation to climate change."