13 Sep 2023

Looking back at the 7th Asia-Pacific Dialogue Platform

There were over 400 participants, representing at least 25 countries; three in-person days in Kathmandu were followed by five interactive online sessions; we had interviews, cartoons, kites, a new board game – and a Nepali street drama to inform communities about anticipatory action. It’s fair to say that this year’s Asia-Pacific Dialogue Platform was the biggest – and the most creative – to date.  

Part one: the in-person meeting, June 2023 

Anticipatory action continues to increase in scale across the Asia-Pacific region and this was reflected during the first part of this year’s event. Over 200 people met in Kathmandu, Nepal, to share country-level and project experiences, while also working together to identify a joint way forward at the regional and national levels.  

“The Dialogue Platform was a stepping stone for raising the profile of innovative early action pilots, not only in Nepal but across Asia-Pacific,” noted Anil Pokhrel, the chief executive of Nepal’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA), which co-hosted the Kathmandu meeting. “We have a collective vision... on collaboration to scale early action initiatives, and using evidence to evaluate implementation approaches across partners.” 

The anticipatory action song: a street drama from Nepal

The in-person part of the Dialogue Platform also saw the launch of a new street drama about anticipatory action. Developed by NDRRMA and the Anticipation Hub, this performance uses song and dance to inform communities about the importance of heeding early warnings ahead of hazards. “[It] showcases Nepal's unique cultural heritage and... actively contribute[s] to broadening the knowledge base for early action,” said Anil Pokhrel.

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Part two: online sessions, July to September 2023 

“The in-person event attracted a record number of participants, coming from over 20 countries,” said Raymond Zingg, the anticipatory action coordinator for Asia-Pacific at the IFRC. “But to allow an even wider audience to share experiences and learn from anticipatory action initiatives in the region, we continued with a series of online events.” 

Held over two months, the virtual part of the event comprised five online sessions. Alongside a community conversation to summarize the main outcomes from the meeting in Kathmandu, each session explored a different aspect of anticipatory action in Asia-Pacific. 

  • In the first session, OpenStreetMap shared examples of how it supports anticipatory action efforts in Asia-Pacific and sought to find ways to collaborate further with the region’s anticipatory action sector.  
  • Next, the Supporting Forecast-based Action and Learning project in Bangladesh shared its experience of trying to enable financing mechanisms for anticipatory action, from local to national levels.  
  • A thematic session looked at the progress made by different government actors in Bangladesh in terms of monitoring and producing hazard-related forecasts, delivering warnings and – based on these – implementing anticipatory action  
  • The final online session focused on early warning education for children, presenting some of the different ways of doing this. 

This split format – with the online and in-person elements held consecutively, rather than at the same time – was a new approach to hosting hybrid Dialogue Platforms. The aim was to allow the organizing team the space to focus on the different needs of both audiences, and to capitalize on the advantages of each format, rather than trying to balance the two. The Anticipation Hub will work with the organizing team and participants to review how successful this was, and then use this to guide the development and planning for future events, in Asia-Pacific and elsewhere. 

Rewatch the online sessions

All of the online sessions are available to watch on the event’s dedicated YouTube playlist

For me, an online session is more accessible; you can reach a wider audience, as it allows people from different locations to participate. It is also easier to connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds. It provides greater scheduling flexibility, allowing participants to join from different time zones or to accommodate their varying work schedules – and when the session is posted on YouTube, it can be accessed by more people, regardless of their time zone.

Our online session helped us [BMKG] to promote our project and reach out to more organizations, NGOs and communities. Our goal is to inspire more people to work inclusively and to raise awareness of inclusive early-warning education. The opportunity to present our ideas at the Asia-Pacific Dialogue Platform led us to valuable connections and collaborations with multiple stakeholders.

Graziela Olua BMKG, Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency

The 7th Asia-Pacific Dialogue Platform was hosted by the Anticipation Hub and jointly organized by NDRRMA, the Nepal Red Cross Society, the German Red Cross, the American Red Cross, the Finnish Red Cross, the Danish Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the World Food Programme and Start Network. It was supported by the German Federal Foreign Office. 

Photos by Skanda Gautam. Cartoons by Krisha Joshi, Nhuja Shakya, Promise Gurung and Manish Shrestha (Sattya Media).