Science and Research

Linking science, policy and practice are fundamental elements of Anticipatory Action. The evaluation of climate and social science are at the core of the design, set up and implementation of Anticipatory Action. In this section you will find information related to Anticipatory Action scientific research projects, peer reviewed academic papers available in academic journals, and research reports, including working papers and other research materials.  Research material cover a diverse range of topics from climate and weather forecasting, scalability, social protection, vulnerability, and exposure, among other crucial topics.

Forecast-based Financing - the scientific community

Forecast-based Financing is an approach that brings together actors from different sectors to assess risks, determine triggers and prioritize actions. Hydrometeorological services provide technical inputs to develop options that allow disaster managers to take timely decisions. In current pilots, collaboration between the scientific community and the Red Cross Red Crescent has enabled a better understanding of forecast science and risk analysis for effective decision-making.

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The evidence base on Anticipatory Action

This paper takes stock of the evidence produced so far on the benefits of acting prior to the onset – or deepening – of a crisis. Overall, existing evidence indicates that the effects of Anticipatory Action at household level are mainly positive. For instance, beneficiaries experience: less psychosocial stress when floods hit; higher crop productivity and less food insecurity during prolonged periods of drought; and lower livestock mortality during severe cold spells. However, not all expected benefits are observed in all cases, and findings should be considered in context and in relation to the kind of action taken. Acting early can be better than doing nothing, but it is less clear whether it is better than doing other things at other times.

Forecast-based Financing Research Road Map

To move forward with the ambitious Anticipatory Action agenda, there are a number of critical research questions that need to be answered. Addressing these policy, strategy and operational gaps can support practitioners and scientists to develop sustainable, effective, and people centred FbF systems at scale.

An Agenda for Expanding Forecast-based Action to Situations of Conflicts

Forecast-based humanitarian action enables actors to start work before a hazard has impacts. To save even more lives, Anticipatory Actions could be expanded to conflict situations.

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Who is doing research on Anticipatory Action?

Asia Regional Resilience to a Changing Climate (ARRCC): The Met Office is working in partnership with the World Bank and the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) on the UK aid funded ARRCC programme. The four-year programme, which started in 2018, aims to strengthen weather forecasting systems across Asia. The programme will deliver new technologies and innovative approaches to help vulnerable communities use weather warnings and forecasts to better prepare for climate-related shocks, including Impact based Forecasting for Early Action in Bangladesh and Nepal.

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Forecast for Anticipatory Humanitarian Action (FATHUM) researchers are linking together research on forecast predictability and skill, complex drivers of risk, multi-actor perspectives on successful implementation and financing mechanisms to catalyse and facilitate the scale-up of Forecast-based Financing (FbF) for effective, appropriate and impactful action before a disaster.

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Exploring options for forecast-based early action in the Eastern Caribbean:  The Caribbean is highly exposed to extreme weather and climate events including drought, tropical cyclones and flooding.  When an extreme event is forecast, action taken before the event occurs can significantly reduce losses, damage and suffering. Caribbean governments and their partners are already taking early action; however, there is potential to strengthen these interventions.

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Towards Forecast based Preparedness Action (ForPAC) is a ‘research to action’ project seeking to provide advanced forecast products and information platforms to project partners in Kenya in order to advance a move towards forecast-based action for flood and drought hazards. The goal is to strengthen resilience to climate-related risks and reduce the impacts of these risks on the lives and livelihoods of those who are mostly vulnerable communities in Kenya.

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NASA Towards A Global Flood & Flash Flood Early Warning Early Action System Driven by NASA Earth Observations and Hydrologic Models

In the current state, disaster management organizations in developing countries are not preparing sufficiently for flash floods. This initiative aims to enhance disaster manager capacity to better prepare, respond and recover to flooding events.

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The PICSEA project results contain communication and training material for weather forecasters, tropical meteorologists and humanitarians. 

This includes a  selection of stimulating videos, animations, audio and mapping of tropical cyclones.

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Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience (SHEAR) is undertaking innovative research in the most hazard-prone parts of the world to better understand and predict disasters and minimise the risk they pose to vulnerable communities.

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Emerging topics

In expanding the use of anticipatory action to address more risks, be applicable in more contexts and strengthen overall disaster risk financing approaches, experts and practitioners are engaging in multi-disciplinary collaboration to enable anticipatory action to be applied where and when it is needed using adapted tools, innovative solutions and new ways of working.

More about emerging topics

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Erin Coughlan

Manager Science Team

Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre

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