Working Group on Locally Led Anticipatory Action

Locally led anticipatory action is a process driven and led by communities and local actors, at the local level, to create an enabling environment for anticipatory action by:  

  • empowering communities and local actors to implement their own early actions
  • identifying and communicating gaps and weaknesses in early warning systems and planning and coordinating mechanisms
  • advocating for flexible or pre-agreed financing for autonomous, locally led early actions ahead of the peak impacts of forecastable or predictable hazardous events or shocks, to reduce their impacts.

Amid growing humanitarian crises around the world, locally led approaches are needed to scale up anticipatory action. It is those living on the frontline of risk that should be at the centre of decision-making. Local actors are best placed to:  

  • provide indigenous knowledge on early warning systems and access to local data for increased granularity of risk and vulnerability (i.e., more localized data)
  • facilitate feedback on local factors affecting the reliability of forecasting models and the effectiveness of established mechanisms and interventions
  • engage with community-based early warning systems in areas that forecasting models (e.g. for floods) are unable to cover
  • rapidly mobilize local structures
  • make financial decisions for strengthened local transparency and accountability mechanisms.

Locally led anticipatory action is integral to strengthening locally led efforts to protect lives, livelihoods and assets from disaster, strengthen risk-informed development, initiate earlier actions when risks are forecast, and strengthen resilience. It contributes to increased coherence in local- and higher-level planning processes for disaster and crisis preparedness (GNDR 2022), which realizes in practice the commitment to action “as local as possible, as international as necessary” (ODI 2018).

Using the expertise of communities and local actors on the front lines of disasters and crises, and those most vulnerable to their impacts, is critical to ensure that effective early warnings and early action become the norm in all parts of society. The effectiveness of locally led anticipatory action, along with the rapid disbursal of financing to local levels, is becoming evident, particularly in terms of more proactive self-mobilization by local structures and increased community ownership of interventions.

This briefing, written by the working group, captures the current thinking about this approach.

Working Group

This working group is made up of people eager to contribute their ideas towards good practices for improving and scaling up locally led anticipatory action. Participation is voluntary and open to all.

Aims and objectives  

The working group seeks to:  

  • facilitate a platform for local actors (e.g. from civil society, communities, government stakeholders, National Red Cross Red Crescent Societies) to exchange and collaborate on how locally led anticipatory action can be achieved
  • generate and reference guidance materials and tools for local, national and international actors to implement and scale out locally led anticipatory action.
  • strengthen the evidence base for the positive results of locally led anticipatory action, to advocate for scaling up this approach.


The working group is currently organized by Julia Burakowski. Please get in touch with her for more information on how to get involved:


Membership includes organizations that are working on locally led anticipatory action and/or advocating for its better use, or have strong ambitions to do so. Read more in the working group’s terms of reference.