Submitted by Natalie Acosta
7 Nov 2023

2024 declared the "year of anticipatory action" in Central America

Every year, the number of people affected by disasters worldwide increases exponentially. According to the United Nations’ General Assembly, 387 disasters were recorded worldwide in 2022 alone, resulting in the loss of 30,704 lives and affecting over 185 million people.

Studies show that acting on forecasts and early warnings saves lives, livelihoods and contributes to integral human development; therefore, anticipatory action is an approach that allows governments to anticipate the impacts of a predictable disaster and mitigate the negative ones.

To promote the mainstreaming of anticipatory action into national and governmental risk-management strategies, as well as to move towards more localized and people-centred anticipatory action, the Regional Dialogue Platform in Central America was held alongside the Mitch +25 forum, from 31 October to 2 November 2023 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

Organized under the slogan ‘Towards a more local and integrated anticipatory action’, more than 270 key actors from national risk-management systems, as well as technical, operational and financial resource partners, gathered during the event. It served as a space for reflection on the progress made and challenges faced 25 years after the impact of Hurricane Mitch, a phenomenon that forever transformed the region’s approach to disaster risk management. Different sessions were held to articulate the regional mechanism and the Coordination Center for Disaster Prevention in Central America and the Dominican Republic’s (CEPREDENAC) humanitarian assistance coordination protocol.

With a vision of integrated disaster risk management, the Central American governments represented in CEPREDENAC signed a declaration to make official their commitment to the integration of anticipatory action in policies, legal frameworks, and response and contingency plans for national risk-management and civil-protection systems, with an inclusive and multisector approach. The same document declared 2024 as “the year of anticipatory action” in Central America.

Darío García, the minister of the National Contingencies Commission (COPECO) and president pro-tempore of CEPREDENAC, highlighted the challenge of ensuring that local and national governments are better prepared for disasters. In addition, partnerships for anticipatory action between different key actors will allow for greater complementarity.

Claudia Herrera, the executive secretary of CEPREDENAC, shared her enthusiasm for the space provided through the forum and the platform to promote more efficient and integrated humanitarian coordination, and to advance the political agenda.

The Anticipation Hub organizes dialogue platforms to facilitate exchange and learning on disaster and crisis’ anticipatory action initiatives. The Anticipation Hub is an initiative of the German Red Cross, the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The Regional Dialogue Platform 2023 was co-organized by CEPREDENAC, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Honduran Red Cross, the German Red Cross and the World Food Programme. It was supported financially by the German Federal Foreign Office.