Expert Insight
Credits UNICEF Indonesia/Ijazah
Published on February 2, 2021

Strengthening Early-Warning and Risk Information Systems to Trigger Early Response for Adaptive Social Protection in Indonesia

Indonesia, one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, has a well-developed disaster response and social protection system. The Government has invested in several monitoring systems, providing risk assessment and early warning, but they are seldom linked to either decision-makers or communities. Thus, limiting the ability to trigger preventive actions.

Emergency response in Indonesia relies heavily on in kind assistance provided after natural disaster events. Cash based transfers are used at a limited scale. To date, a systematic approach that links risk assessment and early warning systems to prevention and response through existing social protection schemes is not yet developed.

A well-developed early-warning and risk-information system linked to the country’s extensive social protection system has the potential to improve trigger anticipatory social protection actions. Aggregating information from these systems and ensuring linkages with the database for social protection beneficiaries has the potential to support the identification of populations at high risk of falling into poverty prior to and after a disaster. This is an important building block towards the establishment of an Indonesian adaptive social protection system.

In 2019, the Global Risk Index ranked Indonesia 55 out of 191, classifying it as a ‘medium’ risk country[1]. On average 1,900 disasters occur annually in Indonesia, with close to 20,000 natural disasters in the past decade[2]. Although, Indonesia is known for its volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunami, hydro-meteorological weather events are responsible for 95 percent of these disasters, with floods, landslides and strong winds occurring most frequently. Floods, the most common disaster, account for the largest proportion of victims and damages in the country every year: 10160 flood events recorded in 2003-2019 resulting to the death of over 3950 people[3].

To initiate preventive actions and minimize loss of life and livelihood in a country highly prone to natural disasters, the provision of location specific early warning and risk information data is critical. Timely availability of data including evidence-based analysis, can support the development of forecast-based early actions. This enables policy makers to make evidence-based decisions.  

The Government has invested in more rigorous, evidence-based approaches to risk reduction, particularly on risk assessment and early-warning. The Government has put in place three early-warning systems (EWS) and two risk information platforms namely:


  1. Climate Early Warning System (CEWS), Indonesian National Agency for Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG). CEWS provides timely information and services for early warning and mitigation of the impacts of extreme climate events.
  2. Signature, BMKG, an impact-based information system for identifying the potential flooded areas resulted by heavy rains, with the effects estimated through set of threat levels.
  3. Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (MHEWS), National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB). The MHEWS informs on the potential disasters through internal overlay data and maps and weather and forecasting data from the BMKG.
  4. InaRISK, BNPB, a risk assessment portal on disaster prone and effected areas, populations, physical and economic losses, as well as environmental damage.
  5. Vulnerability Index Data Information System (Sistem Informasi Data Indeks Kerentanan - SIDIK), Ministry of Environment and Forestry (Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan (KLHK)). SIDIK provides information about the climate disaster vulnerability on deferent levels as a reference in determining priorities for the climate adaptation actions.


Since 2017, WFP, Indonesian National Agency for Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics BMKG and Pulse Lab Jakarta, have worked in partnership to develop Vulnerability Analysis Monitoring Platform for the Impact of Regional Events (VAMPIRE)[4]. The system streams, processes and visualize near real-time data on weather patterns and events, as well as identifies weather extremes and its impact on food security in a single map-based platform ( WFP-BMKG have continued to strengthen VAMPIRE as a platform to inform disaster early-warning and monitoring of impacts of the climatic hazards, especially for droughts and floods, on the food security.   

Although the Government’s early warning and risk information systems are well developed, they are not linked to the country’s social protection system. Therefore, the available data is utilized to trigger preventative actions. The national emergency response is primarily based on in-kind assistance, with limited use of cash-based transfers, provided after disaster strikes.  A systematic approach to link risk assessment and early-warning to prevention and response that leverages existing social protection schemes is not developed.

Under the framework of the Joint SDG Fund, UNICEF, UNDP, WFP and UN OCHA work in partnership to link the early warning and climate information systems to inform emergency response and the disbursement cash-based payments before and/ or after climate-related and other disaster events to the affected populations.. 

To raise awareness and initiate discussions with the Government of Indonesia in strengthening and creating linkages between existing early-warning and risk information systems to inform adaptive social protection, the Joint SDG Fund Indonesia has conducted a webinar titled “Early-Warning and Risk Information Systems to Monitor Hydrometeorological Hazards for Adaptive Social Protection” in end October 2020.

This webinar provided an opportunity for key line ministries and agencies, namely BMKG, BNPB, KLHK, and MoSA, to present their respective early-warning and risk information systems,  share information about technological developments and methodologies, discuss the potential challenges and expand their collaboration for disaster response. 

From the discussion, the ministries and government agencies agreed on the importance of building synergies between each other as well as building linkages between the different platforms, including potentially also with MoSA’s unified database for social protection beneficiaries (DTKS). Integration between the early-warning and risk information systems and the DTKS would support the identification of beneficiaries in regions identified as being at high risk of hydrometeorological and climatic hazards, enabling the Government of Indonesia to take preventive actions before the disaster strikes and also respond faster in emergencies to mitigate the impacts of such hazards on vulnerable populations.

As a next step to strengthen the country’s EWS and risk information system for ASP, a series of policy dialogue and the inception of a technical working group comprising of MoSA, BMKG, BNPB, KLHK, as well as UNOCHA, WFP, UNDP, and UNICEF representatives has been planned to agree on a 2021 Action Plan to identify areas for further strengthening of existing systems and potential synergies between them; to agree on how early-warning and risk information could be used to trigger social protection response; and to articulate the necessary cooperation mechanisms.

The initiation of technical working group will also provide the platform for continued policy discussions and joint planning.

The technical working group will be chaired by MoSA and will convene for its first meeting in January 2021.




[1] According to INFORM Global Risk Index. INFORM is a collaboration of the United Nations Inter-Agency Standing Committee and the European Commission that supports a global open-source risk assessment for humanitarian crises and disasters <>

[2] Data and Information Disaster in Indonesia (DiBi), National Agency for Disaster Management.


[4] An alternative name of PRISM (Platform for Real-time Information and Situation Monitoring) is used for VAMPIRE in other countries across the South East Asia and beyond, where the Platform is used.