TomorrowNow’s rallying call to key stakeholders at COP28.
Planet Earth – Let’s Challenge the Status Quo Together!
COP28 is well underway and the TomorrowNow team are there in full force, pushing a critical agenda to convene a global community (innovators, funders, governments) around our collective 2023 northstar – to empower 100 million farmers with weather intelligence.
To get there (we are already on course) TomorrowNow believes we must challenge the status quo of climate adaptation (both vision and approach) through five key agenda items. Please join us on our audacious and humbling journey:
We Must Amplify The Importance of Weather Intelligence for Farmer/Climate Adaptation and Get it on the Global Climate Agenda. Today, the COP agenda is focused on mitigation and longer term adaptation strategies. Of course, this is important but we also must think about the NOW and how we can best impact lives today. We believe the most impactful way we can impact farmers lives today is through localized and timely weather information. Speak to any farmer; they will tell you that it is weather variability and extremes that are impacting their lives NOW and they are asking for better ways to adapt to weather now. A weather challenge requires a weather solution. Access to localized weather forecasts and timely, actionable advice now is our answer.
We Must Shift Adaptation Funding from Reactive to Proactive – We must change the status quo around where and how funding is allocated today. Food aid and reactive approaches to climate change are not the answer. There has been an 800% increase in aid appeals for extreme weather events over the past two decades but only 7.5% of events have been covered by aid, with a $33 billion shortfall in 5 years. In other words, climate change has broken the humanitarian aid model. We must shift from reactive to proactive climate action. Access to localized weather forecasts and timely, actionable advice is our answer
We Must Back Breakthrough Weather Innovations and Innovators. We must be honest about the technologies (and funding models) that are not working for Africa and Africa’s farmers. 70+ years after they were invented, Africa still has only 6% of the radar stations compared to the USA and Europe, despite the same population and triple the land mass. And the WMO cites ground station density as 8x lower than the recommended. But why? Costs of traditional tech are just too high, public budgets are too low. Even if grant money can cover the capital costs to deploy ground tech and a few years of support, when less than 20% of a population pays taxes, budgets are limited for ongoing maintenance and system integrations. An African met office budget is lucky if it reaches into the millions. NOAA budgets are in the billions.
We must back innovations that will disrupt these norms and support the innovators behind this disruption. New satellite technology paired with new modeling capabilities and streamlined API services spearheaded by private sector companies such as tomorrow.io will drive a transformational shift in the quality and localization of weather and our ability to rapidly share information. We must back technologies and business models that seek to both improve quality AND reduce cost, while leveraging existing technologies where we can. And we must continue to push innovations that can help rapidly deploy and promote the adoption of these technologies for everyone! Access is just as important as quality and localization. In other words, we must challenge the status quo of what and who we fund (the innovations and innovators).
We Must Back Breakthrough Partnerships, Catalyzed By Philanthropy – To ensure breakthrough tech reaches its full potential, we must ensure it benefits those most in need. We must also ensure rapid scale and lasting impact. We do not want impact dying with the grant cycle. To achieve this, we must encourage new kinds of partnerships. Technology is only part of the answer! There are several systematic challenges we must overcome to ensure the rapid scale and sustainability of solutions. We need new partnership models where the public, private, academic and NGO sectors come together to support the localization of new innovations, inclusive access AND operational scale. Philanthropy can catalyze new partnerships. For example, TomorrowNow is proving out new kinds of partnerships that are allowing for both rapid reach of breakthrough tech and cost -effective scale. Tomorrow.io satellites will drive a transformational shift in our ability to monitor precipitation but what we have access to right now (including localized forecast models, enhanced with local data) can change the lives of farmers, increase productivity and help in the context of climate adaptation NOW. It is critical we invest in the channels to empower farmers now, while continuing to invest in the localization of the data, even if today there is no commercial incentive to do so. In eighteen months, we have tripled the reach of farmers to one million farmers, and new partnership models are emerging for cost-effective scale – not possible without new kinds of partnership.
Finally, it is time that we focus on solutions that help farmers not just survive but thrive; And shift from a focus on crisis to hope, progress and prosperity. A focus on catastrophe and crisis may lead to more humanitarian dollars injected into climate response and more appeal aid raised but this is not helping to accelerate solutions for proactive climate adaptation and action. By focusing on a positive narrative for the farmers, we can generate more fuel for optimism and channel philanthropy and climate adaptation financing into breakthrough solutions that can make a long-term difference to the lives of millions of farmers.
We are already partnered with dozens across the world, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, tomorrow.io, CGIAR, One Acre Fund and many others. Whether you’re an innovator, funder or government, we need your help in achieving our collective 2023 northstar – to empower 100 million farmers with weather intelligence.
By working together, we can unlock the possibilities of tomorrow for everyone!