Regional technical working group on anticipatory action Asia-Pacific

The Asia-Pacific region is one of the most diverse in the world. It’s home to nearly 4.5 billion people – some 60 percent of the global population – with roughly 2 300 languages and dialects between them. The geography reflects this diversity, from the high plateaus of Afghanistan to the tropical islands of Fijiand the wide-open grasslands of the Mongolian steppe.

The region is also one of the most hazard-prone: some 70 percent of the world’s disasters hit here. And they particularly hit hard for families with limited means, who often belong to minority groups, living inremote areas, or on the fringes of cities. For them, the sequence of cyclones, floods,droughts, and heat waves can be relentless.These events are also getting more frequent and intense, thanks to the burden of climate change. Equally taxing can be the impacts of conflict and economic malaise, especially ifthey coincide with natural shocks. It’s no coincidence that some of the most hazard-prone communities in the region are also among the world’s poorest, as crisis aftercrisis strips away at the hard-earned assets off arming families who have limited means to protect themselves and limited time to recover between shocks.

Anticipatory Action is a system that combines impact-based forecasting, anticipatory actions, ex ante financing, and the strengthening of the operational capacity to implement anticipatory actions.

The concept has been widely accepted and adopted by humanitarian partners and governments as a way to better protect lives/livelihoods and maintainpeople’s self-reliance. By minimizing personal set-backs, Anticipatory Actionalso protects larger development gains.Consider, for example, a family’s ability tokeep their children in school with theincome they derive from livestock they were able to protect or the fact that acommunity at large can maintain a basic level of healthy nutrition even in trying times. In short, by being more timely, Anticipatory Action reduces losses and suffering and protects progress.

While we may not entirely prevent disasters from happening, we can minimize the consequences by acting early. By using better forecasting models, prepositioning available resources and mapping the vulnerable groups,
Anticipatory Action has the potential to prevent people from falling further intodestitution and sustain development gains.

As interest grows in the Asia-Pacific, so does the need for information sharing, coordination and joint advocacy. There is currently a gap in terms of regional partnerships convening the humanitarian, development and climate resilience communities. There is a need to draw on evidence and best practice todrive up and unify standards, while also increasing investment. This Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) on Anticipatory Action aims to address this gap and promote a regional approach toknowledge sharing and cooperation.

Key functions

The key functions of the group include:

  • Develop a common framework and further the intellectual underpinning of Anticipatory Action to ensure technical rigour in the region (including definitions and standards).
  • Promote the scale-up of collective AnticipatoryAction efforts and provide technical support to joint inter-agency efforts.
  • Support governments and partners to develop collaborative, sustainable and holistic AnticipatoryAction systems.
  • Generate joint evaluation methodologies, evidenceand disseminate lessons learned.
  • Collaborate on joint events, knowledge products andworkshops.
  • Coordinate and engage in joint resource mobilization efforts for Anticipatory Action and flexible financing.
  • Provide technical materials, tools and templates toguide countries on setting up Anticipatory Actionsystems.
  • Support the linking of Anticipatory Action to keythemes, i.e. Adaptive/Shock-Responsive SocialProtection, cash preparedness, social inclusion,climate resilience, among others.
  • Provide regional early warnings updates, specificallyfor El Niño/La Niña events (to be presented at regional groups such as the Emergency Preparedness Working Group, IASC Regional Network as well as the Climate Outlook Forums;
  • Provide technical assistance to regional bodies on Anticipatory Action both in terms of practical andpolicy uptake (i.e. the Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN) the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Center), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Pacific Resilience Partnership (PRP), among others).