dpl news | Robust Telecom Networks Can Save Lives in the Face of Climate Change

dpl news | Robust Telecom Networks Can Save Lives in the Face of Climate Change

This article was originally published in dpl news on 20 March 2022. 

An emergency telecommunications plan can help save lives and reduce costs associated with natural disasters.

Having a robust emergency telecommunications plan, including satellite networks, can make all the difference in enabling a country to respond quickly to natural disasters caused by climate change and save lives, or face catastrophic consequences, reveals a study by the Access Partnership.

In a recent report on the role of communications in disaster management, the consultancy says the availability of resilient and reliable networks is directly related to the ability to ensure efficient and accurate information flows during a contingency such as a hurricane or fire.

A reduction in response time to natural disasters has a significant impact on the costs of mortality, morbidity and damage to the physical environment, as in crisis situations every second counts.

In this sense, communication networks, and especially satellite systems, make it possible to connect the population with security, emergency, health and civil protection agencies in a timely manner, even in remote areas.

In addition to the human and social relevance, the report highlights that robust emergency telecommunications networks can lessen the economic impact of natural disasters linked to climate change.

The United Nations estimates that climate change and the damage caused by associated natural disasters will cost developing countries between 280 and 500 billion dollars annually by 2050.

And for the agricultural and livestock sectors in emerging countries alone, for example, these natural hazards cost more than 108 billion dollars, due to the disruption of their production chain and often irreparable damage.

Against this increasingly worrying backdrop on the global agenda, the Access Partnership calls on governments to increase investments “in physical and social infrastructure and enable the scaling up and acceleration of transformative adaptation strategies with greater reach”.

Designing and implementing a comprehensive telecommunications strategy must be part of these efforts, the consultancy says. Only then will governments and the private sector be better prepared for such situations.

Also read: Operators fight climate change
“Given the lack of preparedness to bear the financial costs and the need to protect human lives in low-income countries, collaborative efforts between governments and the private sector are urgently needed to maintain adequate National Emergency Telecommunications Plans.”

“With fewer resources, less expertise, fewer policies in place, less investment in infrastructure, less equipment and training, low-income jurisdictions are currently particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change,” the consultant explains.

The study highlights the role of satellite communication systems in responding appropriately to emergencies. “Due to their non-terrestrial nature, satellite networks are essential to ensure efficient and accurate information flows during an emergency, especially in complex and evolving events,” said Ivan Suarez, senior policy manager at Access Partnership.

Due to global warming associated with climate change, the United Nations panel of scientists predicts that over the next 20 years the world will face harsh effects on people and the planet: collapsing ecosystems, species extinction, deadly heat waves, heavy flooding and longer dry seasons.

Several telecommunications and technology companies around the world have committed to reducing their carbon emissions throughout their value chain to help combat climate change. At the same time, they highlight the important role they play in strategies to address related issues.

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