Climate Change

Early Warning for Disaster Risk Reduction

Overall, agriculture suffers 26% of the damage and loss caused by climate-related disasters in developing countries. Informed advisories, alerts and robust early-warning systems are essential for farmers and rural dwellers to prepare for and adapt to changes in climate.

Given that it is not possible to issue emergency declarations in agriculture before significant damage and losses are reported, the development of early warning systems linked to early action are of vital importance. Earth Observation (EO) and remote sensing-based information are crucial in agricultural monitoring. This information plays an important role in enabling early warning of harvest shortfalls, increasing crop production and ensuring agricultural sustainability. 

It is estimated that Early Warning systems for food and agriculture can save lives and assets that are worth at least ten times their costs.

Agricultural drought monitoring

The Agricultural Stress Index System (ASIS) provides near real-time global, regional and country level data which supports decision makers with timely information crucial for preparing for and minimizing the impacts of drought on agriculture. In 2016, ASIS won the Geospatial World Excellence Award

ASIS applications

ASIS applications

  1. An agricultural drought monitoring and early warning system for food security 
  2. A trigger for early action and implementation of mitigation activities, to be included in national drought plans 
  3. A trigger for pay out of a parametric crop insurance and/or cash distribution, for instance in a social protection scheme 
  4. An independent variable to build yield forecast models  
  5. A tool to forecast agricultural drought two months before the crop season finishes  
  6. A tool to guide public investments in infrastructure intended to mitigate the impacts of drought in agriculture 
  7. A tool to carry out specific studies regarding El Niño phenomenon  


ASIS allows FAO, partners and selected countries to effectively monitor key risks to agriculture and
food security and provides targeted and tailored support for early action, crop insurance,
national mitigation plans, food stocks management, social protection programmes and more. ASIS contributes to FAO’s Hand-in-Hand Initiative (HiHI) and its GIS data platform.