‘Anticipatory action’ (AA) encompasses a set of planned and pre-financed measures taken when a disaster is imminent, prior to a shock or before acute impacts are felt. This paper argues that AA should not be a substitute for longer-term investment and action to reduce vulnerability and should strengthen people’s capacity to manage risks effectively and adapt to climate change.
AA should be seen as an integral component of disaster risk management, adaptation and resilience. This will require a better understanding of how AA relates to existing government structures, policies and programmes.
A frank discussion is needed between governments and international aid agencies on the utility of AA; the specific problems that it can help to overcome; and where other types of external support would be more effective.
AA will not reduce disaster impacts in the long run without steps to address the power structures and rent-seeking practices blocking progress on reducing risks.
Critically, AA should not be a substitute for investment and action to reduce vulnerability and strengthen people’s capacity to manage risks – it should not crowd out public investment in adaptation, risk reduction and preparedness.