This documents covers anticipatory action, a disaster risk management approach based around predicting when disaster events will occur and acting early to protect people against their impact. This way of working is now becoming increasingly embedded in the humanitarian system. Anticipatory action consolidates forecasting information and forward planning in ways that allow governments and the humanitarian community to act in advance of disasters or before they reach their peak, as soon as a warning sign appears. Effective use of early warning information and flexible finance mechanisms can mitigate or even prevent humanitarian disasters. Acting on early warning information has been shown to curb projected increases in food insecurity, malnutrition and rural poverty. In doing so, it can protect lives and livelihoods in a rapid manner and ensure greater resilience of the most vulnerable.
An inclusive approach to anticipatory action will have a nuanced and context-specific understanding of the ways inequality impacts vulnerability and resilience. Working in this way means understanding how intersecting social categories, such as gender, sex, age, nationality, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity and physical abilities, impact the extent to which vulnerable individuals or communities can access and benefit from anticipatory action. That is why, from the beginning and throughout the entirety of the anticipatory action approach, the most vulnerable people in affected communities need to be included in the decision-making on the planning, design and implementation of activities. For this to be effective, projects and programmes also need to incorporate mechanisms capable of monitoring disparities that might arise throughout the intervention.