Forecast-based action and shock-responsive social protection in Province 5 and Sudhur Paschim, Nepal

Bringing the two concepts of forecast-based action and shock-responsive social protection in Nepal represents a valuable opportunity to improve system delivery, build off innovations, and reduce the disaster burden in one of the world's most disaster-prone countries. Beginning in 2020, this project aims to integrate shock responsiveness and anticipatory action into Nepal’s social security allowance programme to inform the development of more responsive and anticipatory social protection and early warning systems that protect the most vulnerable people - before, during and after shocks. Further, it aims to build a replicable mechanism for anticipatory action based on experiences and evidence collected and tested on the ground, strengthening the capacity of the government of Nepal and humanitarian stakeholders to implement forecast-based action and shock-responsive social protection for floods and cold waves.

Key facts

Start/end date     

June 2020–October 2022

Hazards covered    

Riverine floods | Cold waves

Regions covered    

Two provinces (Province 5 and Sudhur Paschim) | Two districts (Bardiya and Kailali) | Two river basins (Babai and Karnali) | Five municipalities exposed to floods in those river basins (Gulariya, Barabardiya, Thakurbaba/Tikapur, Janaki)

Early action sectors     


Implementing partners   

Nepal Red Cross Society | Danish Red Cross | Humanity & Inclusion

Technical partners:

Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre

Other stakeholders involved

Federal government | Provincial government | Municipalities and wards | Agencies involved in forecast-based action and shock-responsive social protection in Nepal 

Anticipation in practice: project description

Nepal is highly vulnerable to a broad range of hazards. New and more extreme hazards occur with increased frequency due to climate change, more variable flooding because of glacier melt, and more frequent and extreme heat waves. These climate shocks have contributed significantly to the humanitarian burden and vulnerabilities have increased as the coping capacities of affected people are stretched. Frequent disasters continue to compromise the sustainability of development gains while underlying food insecurity, undernutrition, poverty and the high turnover of government personnel provide a challenging context for effective disaster planning and response.

Floods in Nepal have a variety of impacts, from the displacement of people in affected communities to the destruction of public and private infrastructure, which leads to limited mobility, loss of services, limited availability of food, and increased food and transport costs. Specific groups of people are particularly vulnerable during floods, largely those with restricted mobility such as older people, pregnant women, women with small children, single women, the landless and undocumented, and people with disabilities.

Donors and social protection specialists are looking into ways of using social protection systems to reach out to the most vulnerable people. This project seeks to combine the anticipatory aspects of forecast-based financing with shock-responsive social protection. The ability of shock-responsive social protection to support emergency response efforts and reach the most vulnerable groups in times of crisis was demonstrated in Nepal after the 2015 earthquake, and again during COVID-19 preparedness and response operations. There is a lot of evidence that the regularity and dependability of payments improves the impact of  assistance, as beneficiaries are able to plan ahead and make better use of the support they receive.

This project focuses on linking the advances made in forecast-based action in Nepal with the existing social security allowance programme, through an integrated approach that embeds shock-responsive social protection within forecast-based action, adapting the social protection system, and developing complimentary instruments to reach out to the most vulnerable people in anticipation of, and in response to, climate shocks. The forecast-based action system will be jointly developed with all interested stakeholders - from local to national authorities, communities, NGOs, international NGOs and donors - integrating their knowledge and perspectives. The development of the shock-responsiveness and resilience of the social protection system at the local level will be supported by confirming the gaps identified through various studies with additional input from local stakeholders’ experiences. Modificaitons to the social protection system that might allow the system to act in anticipation, as well as function during and after a disaster, will be explored together with local stakeholders and tested in simulations.

Outcomes and lessons learned

Expected outcomes from the project

  • Gaps and barriers for persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups to fully access sets of services provided by the government and other organizations during a disaster identified and translated into actions for anticipation and shock-responsive social protection

  • Testing modifications to social protection in five municipalities in two river basins to make them more shock responsive

  • Inclusive standard operating procedures for anticipatory action related to floods and cold waves jointly developed and tested in two districts

This image shows a map of the areas of invention
Map of the areas of intervention, © Nepal Red Cross Society


Niru Pradhan

Danish Red Cross, senior programme officer:

Tamas Marki

Programme manager:

Further resources

Acting in anticipation against unseasonal floods in Nepal

This case study documents the anticipatory actions taken ahead of the October 2021 floods in the Karnali River, Nepal. These included early warning messages, the evacuation of at-risk households, …

Download file

Report on flood simulation exercise on anticipatory action

Report on a flood simulation exercise on anticipatory action held in Lumbini and Sudhur Paschim Pronvices in Nepal on 29 - 30 September 2021

Download file

Event proceeding report on the National Dialogue on Anticipatory Action, 22-23 April 2022, Nepal

Event proceeding report on the National Dialogue on Anticipatory Action, held 22-23 April 2022 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Download file