A new framework to improve collaboration on anticipatory action in South-East Asia
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) recently launched its Framework on Anticipatory Action in Disaster Management. This marks a core commitment towards advancing the coherency and coordination of anticipatory action in the region.
Importantly, the framework provides an opportunity for ASEAN Member States to converge their efforts through a common definition for anticipatory action as “a set of interventions that are carried out when a hazard poses imminent danger based on a forecast, early warning, or pre-disaster risk analysis. Anticipatory actions are taken by individuals and organizations before an anticipated disaster, to mitigate its impact on people, assets and infrastructure.”
The framework identifies three key building blocks
This is a necessary step, as confusion about terminology has often led to fragmented approaches, hindering coordination around anticipatory action in the region and beyond. Establishing a regional consensus around what anticipatory action means will enhance collaboration among the multiple humanitarian and development actors in this field. The framework also identifies three key building blocks for this approach: (1) risk information, forecasting and early warning systems; (2) planning, operations and delivery; and (3) pre-arranged finance.
Introducing the ASEAN Framework on Anticipatory Action in Disaster Management
The need for a stronger response to disaster risk
South-East Asia is highly prone to a range of disaster risks. Climate-related hazards such as floods, droughts, typhoons and storm surges, as well as human-induced hazards, increasingly threaten people’s lives and livelihoods across the region. These are often compounded by factors such as socio-economic pressure and the escalating rate of climate change.
Against this context, ASEAN is committed to strengthening its capacity and capability to reduce disaster risks, with an overall vision of a disaster-resilient region. Building on the momentum seen in the past decade on regional disaster management, including through the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER), this framework demonstrates a significant shift in the way disasters are managed in the region: acting ahead of shocks rather than responding to disasters. This is also in line with the ‘One ASEAN, One Response’ principles of speed, scale and solidarity.
South-East Asian countries are moving towards mechanisms for disaster preparedness and response that can operate based on the ‘One ASEAN, One Response’ principles of speed, scale and solidarity.
Importantly, the framework provides guidance on how anticipatory action can be adapted to the regional context and adopted by ASEAN Member States. Furthermore, the priority actions – identified through a series of consultative workshops – are set out as the plan of action for 2021-2025. These include actions to integrate anticipatory action into disaster risk management systems and to facilitate cooperation with national governments and partners across the region.
Recognizing the gaps and barriers in terms of functioning early warning systems and other aspects of anticipatory action systems, the framework outlines the need for long-term investments in disaster risk management and climate change adaptation to realize the full potential of anticipatory action.
This framework represents the first intergovernmental consensus on parameters and standards for anticipatory action. As such, it should inspire governments, partners and communities beyond the region to adopt this approach for a more resilient future. it should also act as a stepping stone to facilitate the greater exchange of global knowledge and best practices in the anticipatory action community.
ASEAN, being one of the most productive agricultural baskets in the world, is also the best suited to showcase the importance of anticipatory action for livelihood interventions. Natural disasters can have ripple effects on livelihoods, which can strip away incomes and food security. Taking anticipatory actions will ensure countries are able to protect livelihoods and save lives.
This blog was written by Inyoung Jang (FAORAP), Catherine Jones (FAORAP) and Rayane Abou Jaoude (OER).
Photo of Shukri Ahmed © FAO/Roberto Cenciarelli