Anticipatory action: Lessons for the future
Frontiers in Climate
Number of pages
This article shares lessons from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) anticipatory action (AA) pilots, focusing on three components: triggers, programming, and financing. It reports that triggers must be sufficiently reliable to warrant action and funds disbursement. Forecasts are not available for all countries or hazards, and existing forecasts may not provide desired resolution or skill (accuracy) levels, especially at longer lead times. The timing of action therefore must balance forecast skill against operational needs. Funding is best when it is flexible and includes finance for framework design, evaluation and continued improvements. It goes on to discuss the challenges and opportunities in scaling up anticipatory action.
Anticipatory action seeks to ensure aid is provided before the peak impact of a shock occurs, reducing suffering and humanitarian needs. OCHA has been developing AA frameworks since 2019, coordinating collective AA and mobilizing finance. To date, these pilots have reached approximately 2.2 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Bangladesh. In six countries (Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Nepal, Niger, and The Philippines), frameworks are in place to reach a further 2.3 million people should the triggers be reached. OCHA is facilitating the design of AA plans in Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Madagascar, Mozambique and South Sudan.