Forecast-based Action by the DREF: IFRC’s Disaster Response Emergency Fund

The Anticipatory Pillar of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) is dedicated funding to support anticipatory action via three financing mechanism: (1) Early Action Protocols (EAPs); (2) Simplified Early Action Protocols; and (3) DREF for imminent events.

Through the Anticipatory Pillar, financial resources are agreed in advance and tied to predefined thresholds (triggers). Once a trigger is reached, these resources are released, enabling the implementation of the agreed actions to prevent or mitigate negative humanitarian impacts on vulnerable populations.

National Red Cross Red Crescent Societies can access up to 500,000 Swiss francs for an EAP. Each EAP has a lifespan of five years and include three components:

  1. the prepositioning of stock essential to enable early actions
  2. readiness activities that ensure the National Society is prepared and on standby to respond
  3. pre-agreed early action activities designed to save lives and livelihoods ahead of a forecast hazard.

In June 2022, the IFRC introduced the Simplified Early Action Protocol, a lighter approach to anticipatory action planning. Under this funding mechanism, any National Society can access up to 200,000 Swiss francs over a lifespan of two years. Like the EAP, this includes funding for prepositioning of stock, annual readiness activities and early action activities.

If a National Society has not developed an EAP, or a Simplified EAP, it can access DREF funding for an imminent event when it is clear that the event is on the horizon. Under an imminent DREF, readiness activities are eligible as well as procurement of the stock required – in advance of early action activities – but a DREF operation typically is only a max of six months, so readiness activities are not annual (unlike an EAP or a Simplified EAP). However, unlike the other modalities, the funding is not preapproved in advance; the National Society will need to prepare a plan and budget before funding is realized and the time allowed for readiness and prepositioning are shorter – one month for a sudden-onset hazard and up to four months in advance of a slow onset hazard.

EAPs go through a technical review by IFRC sectoral experts and are approved by the Validation Committee, which comprises members from Partner National Societies and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. This review is undertaken using standardized quality criteria.

Early Action Protocol Quality Criteria

Simplified Early Action Protocol Quality Criteria

For further details on anticipatory action at IFRC, click here.

DREF Anticipatory Pillar


International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies


May 2018

Geographical scope:


Who can apply:

National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies  

Types of hazard:

Weather- and non-weather-related hazards

FbA by the DREF in numbers

FbA by the DREF provides funding for National Red Cross Red Crescent Societies to implement their approved early actions once a pre-defined trigger is met.

17 EAPs ready for activation, covering 440,000 people
36 EAPs under development
3500000 Swiss francs (CHF) allocated for EAPs since 2019
1200000 CHF disbursed since 2019, for 7 EAPs
440000 people covered by early actions

Photo by Mongolia Red Cross Society, 2020