23 Jun 2022

Are you ready? Anticipatory action picks up speed at the Global Platform on DRR

Anticipatory action and disaster risk reduction (DRR) are inherently interconnected. As evidenced at the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (23 - 28 May in Bali), both communities can work in synergy to help countries achieve their targets under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-30 and, by doing so, protect the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable people.

Anticipatory action was strongly represented throughout GPDRR and its preparatory conferences including the 3rd Multi-hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-III) and the 5th World Reconstruction Conference with a growing interest and awareness from governments and other stakeholders. With over 3200 participants in Bali and over 3000 online, the event successfully enabled the Anticipation Hub to reconnect with partners in person and expand our community by interacting and engaging with many more organizations and governments.

What did we do?

The Anticipation Hub together with partners embraced the opportunity to engage in GPDRR by organizing and supporting a variety of sessions and events. Below you can find a summary of these events along with the links to recordings and further information. All events aimed to be interactive and utilize creative approaches to engage with the audience.

In preparation for GPDRR, the Anticipation Hub organized a preparatory event attended by over 80 people, resulting in a co-developed Statement from the Anticipation Hub to GPDRR which was jointly advocated by partners during the event. The Anticipation Hub also supported the Children and Youth Forum preparatory event entitled ‘Advancing child and youth meaningful and inclusive participation in anticipatory action’.

To facilitate exchange and joint advocacy the Anticipation Hub managed a WhatsApp group on Anticipatory Action with over 55 members. We estimate that over 1000 people attended the anticipatory action related sessions with hundreds interacting at our booth. A powerful result of the advocacy and engagement efforts was that early action and forecast-based financing were emphasized in the GPDRR co-chairs summary Bali Agenda for Resilience.

What were the highlights?

Creativity and energy

In line with the spirit of our Dialogue Platforms on Anticipatory Action and the values of the Anticipation Hub, we prioritized interactive and creative approaches in our co-organised activities like arts-based networking, dancing, games, and even interactive theater. Thanks to the support of our partners we were able to make conversations open and informal, helping us to interact with governments and other stakeholders to increase their awareness about anticipatory action in a fun and creative way which was strongly appreciated by participants. The thirst for knowledge exchange and learning was evident as seen through session rooms packed with people eagerly sharing their experience and expertise. By creating a safe and welcoming space, we enable participants to openly share insights about what works and what doesn't, about challenges and opportunities in anticipatory action.

Watch an interview with Kara Siahaan, Head of the Anticipation Hub, reflecting on the anticipatory action engagement at GPDRR and the need for continued partnership building to facilitate mainstreaming and scaling up.

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Mainstreaming into national DRM frameworks

The innovation platform offered an excellent space to share key messages the Anticipation Hubs statement to GPDRR jointly developed with partners including the need to update and review DRM frameworks and policies, clarify roles and responsibilities while promoting a multi-stakeholder approach, increasing access to funding, and promoting synergies to link anticipatory action with social protection. The ASEAN Anticipatory Action Regional Framework was launched demonstrating the government's commitment to embed anticipatory action into national systems. In their statement to GPDRR, the German Government, reaffirmed commitment that “Together with our partners we are aiming to significantly increase financial resources, and scale up and mainstream anticipatory action”.

Barzarragchaaa Duudgai, Head of Division, National Emergency Management Agency, Mongolia shares why early action is an important part of DRR activities in Mongolia

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Bridging early warning and early action

MHEWC-III provided the first opportunity to discuss the call by António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, for ‘Early Warning for All’ within five years (read more by WMO here). Taking stock of Sendai Framework progress, accountability of governments was stressed to ensure access to people-centered early warning systems and enabling anticipatory early action through impact forecasting. Initiatives like the “Early Warning for All” must be commended and GPDRR must continue playing a key role to advocate for stronger linkage between early warning and anticipatory action as a key approach to risk management.

The Anticipation Hub and partner engagement around impact-based forecasting and anticipatory action enabled us to strengthen connections with National Hydro-meteorological Services (NMHSs). This confirmed the need to continue to work together to bridge humanitarian and hydro-met communities to ensure not only early warning for all, but enabled early action for all. You can read more about bridging anticipatory action and impact-based forecasting key messages at GPDRR here.

Support for inclusion and future leaders

There was a strong focus on inclusion, youth and gender throughout MHEWC-III and GPDRR sessions along with a dedicated day at the Anticipation Hub’s Innovation Platform. The need for inclusive and gender responsive early warning systems that ‘leave no-one behind’ was emphasized. The Anticipation Hub supported attendance at the event by two local Bangladesh Red Crescent Society volunteers who shared their experiences of implementing anticipatory action ahead of cyclones and riverine floods. The Indonesian Red Cross Bali volunteers led the debut performance of the Anticipation Dance bringing their enthusiasm, energy and motivation to increase awareness on early warning early action.

The launch of the Future Leaders Network on Early Warning Early Action was a big achievement for the Anticipation Hub. With support from partners like CREWS and its co-chairs representing the Indonesia Met Agency (BMKG), Danish Red Cross and University of Reading we commit to jointly building bridges to connect, inspire and empower our next generation of professionals, scientists and volunteers working on anticipatory action. You can get involved by signing up here and read more about young professionals engagement at GPDRR here.

I am convinced that we will only be able to close the early warning capacity gap if the next generation of professionals is fully involved. They bring the knowledge, new perspectives and dynamism needed to, hopefully, see many more people covered by early warning systems in the not too distant future.

John Harding, Head of Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Secretariat

Call for partnership building

Anticipatory action cannot be scaled up by humanitarian actors alone. Partnerships with climate, development and other sectors are crucial from national to global levels. At GPDRR, government actors called on others to leverage the power of these partnerships and join initiatives like the Anticipation Hub to exchange knowledge, strengthen capacity and learning.

At IGAD we recognise the importance of building partnership for knowledge, partnerships for capacity, with academia, research institutions and other specialized agencies. The most important partnerships are for linking early warning with early action.

Ahmed Amdihun, ICPAC, Early Warning Early Action panel

Partnerships are also needed with the climate and development sectors to address fragmentation in financing across donors and governments ‘siloed pots’ to fund capacity development and financing for anticipatory action implementation.

Welcoming the interest from the development sector at the WRC5 panel to promote anticipatory approaches, Kara Siahaan, Anticipation Hub called for more synergies. “If we want to build a system that translates early warning into anticipatory action, we need to look at the system as a whole. There are already financing mechanisms to fuel finance to implement anticipatory action, but this must be coupled with financing from the climate and development sector to invest in early warning and organizational capacities.”

The Chief Executive of the Nepal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority calls for cross-sectoral multi-stakeholder collaboration and knowledge exchange to support governments to translate anticipatory action into practice.

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What was missing and what’s next?

Anticipatory action has been advancing to also include anticipation of epidemics and other health outbreaks, as well as anticipatory action in conflict settings, which were not the primary focus of any anticipatory action sessions. In addition, anticipatory action for slow onset disasters and how to strengthen preparedness by applying anticipatory approaches to address the impact of man-made hazards e.g Ukraine and global food crisis could have received more attention.

Given the positive experiences of participants in our interactive anticipatory action sessions we would strongly recommend prioritizing more active audience engagement across the wider GPDRR and MHEWC-III sessions.

The next milestones for anticipatory action policy engagement include the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on DRR in Brisbane Australia in September and COP27 in November taking place in Egypt. Watch out for updates via the Anticipation Hub on the Regional and Global Dialogue Platforms on Anticipatory Action, with the 5th African Dialogue Platform taking place 28-30 June (register here). You can sign up for our newsletter updates and visit our website. The Anticipation Hub together with partners will continue to facilitate knowledge exchange, learning and advocacy to ensure community voices are empowered and early actions are enabled and scaled at the local level.