11 Oct 2023

Acrobats and anticipatory action: the 11th Global Dialogue Platform begins

What’s the connection between acrobats and disasters? That was the question that many people were asking on the opening day of the 11th Global Dialogue Platform on Anticipatory Humanitarian Action, as Gravity & Other Myths, an Australian performance collective, took to the stage. 

“They are experts at everything that we need in anticipatory action”, explained Pablo Suarez from the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. “If you want to do anticipatory action, you need to be better at understanding trajectories, you need trust, you need to challenge your ambitions. Acrobats know this – and we can learn from them.” 

Following this energetic opening, the participants, who joined online and in Berlin, Germany, moved into a series of workshops and parallel sessions that delved into the many different aspects of anticipatory action. Among these was a workshop dedicated to the UN’s Early Warning for All initiative, which explored some of the ways to realize the ambitions of this initiative – and how anticipatory action can play a role in this.  

Over 2,500 people from 145 countries have registered for this year’s event and the afternoon’s parallel sessions took them on a tour of how anticipatory action is being implemented around the world. Speakers presented examples from several countries – including Afghanistan, Côte d'Ivoire, Madagascar, Nepal and South Sudan – and discussed themes including protracted crises, trigger development, social protection and locally led anticipatory action.  

The central theme throughout this year’s event is ‘People at the centre’, which refers to the need to keep those who are most at risk from hazards at the heart of anticipatory approaches. “The sector keeps putting ideas at the centre – new frameworks, tools, approaches – and then tries to work out the best way for ownership and effective use by people,” noted Elise Belcher, a project coordinator at the Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction. "If we are really going to have people at the centre, let's do all we can at this Global Dialogue Platform to think about how we can all start with people's perspectives – and especially those who are living on the frontline of risk.” 

Anticipatory action is required to save lives, livelihoods and assets, and people become more resilient through taking different early actions based on forecasts.

Kazi Rabeya Ame CARE Bangladesh

Day one also saw the launch of a new briefing from the Anticipation Hub's Protection, Gender and Inclusion working group, written by Audrey Baëté from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Brigitte Rudram from Plan International. This was launched during the closing talk, given by Wendy Emilia Vera García, a youth leader at Movimiento Por Ser Niña (the 'Because I am a Girl' movement) in Ecuador, which works with 600 young people in the country. She told the audience about her experience of creating informal education spaces to build knowledge and capacity on climate action, all with a gender-transformative lens. And she had a call to action for the audience: to put girls at the centre of anticipatory action: “Give women and girls, in all their diversity, a role in anticipatory action; don’t let our voices get lost!” 

You can read the new briefing here.

Register for the 11th Global Dialogue Platform

The 11th Global Dialogue Platform continues until 12 October, with many more sessions and workshops coming up, and contributions from experts drawn from diverse thematic areas across the fields of science, policy and practice. The agenda includes sessions that seek to strengthen collaboration between the anticipatory action community and global initiatives such as the Global Shield against Climate Risk­, the Grand Bargain and the Understanding Risk Global Forum. And, on 12 October, the second winner of the Averted Disaster Award will be announced.  

Everyone is welcome to participate online and you can register for free on the event website. Closed captioning and UN interpretation services to and from English to Arabic, French and Spanish are available for plenary sessions and selected other sessions. 

The Global Dialogue Platform is hosted by the Anticipation Hub, a joint initiative of the German Red Cross, the IFRC and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. It is being organized in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Food Programme, Start Network and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, with support from the German Federal Foreign Office.