Simplified Early Action Protocols: making funding for anticipatory action more accessible
In 2018, the IFRC established Early Action Protocols (EAPs) as a new funding mechanism under its Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF). EAPs support anticipatory action plans developed as part of forecast-based financing projects, providing National Societies with a framework to act in the face of extreme weather events. Each EAP sets out the annual readiness activities a National Red Cross Red Crescent Society must undertake, as well as the prepositioned stock it requires to deliver early actions before the hazard strikes. Now, the DREF has launched a simplified version of the EAP to enable even more National Societies to implement anticipatory action to save lives and protect homes and livelihoods.
To date, the IFRC has approved 27 EAPs from 18 National Societies, enabling them to access pre-agreed financing from the anticipatory pillar of the DREF ahead of a disaster. But a review of this system in 2021 [PDF] recommended that there should also be a ‘lighter’ version of EAPs that doesn’t only target extreme events. This simplified EAP complements the existing EAPs, as it allows a National Society to start with a simpler plan – and then progress to the more complex EAP model in time, if they wish to.
A lighter approach
In response to this recommendation, the IFRC, the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and partners working on forecast-based financing developed a simplified version of the full EAP. The new model, which was launched in June 2022, still allows a National Society to access funding from the DREF for annual readiness activities and to preposition stock, so that they are ready to act when the pre-agreed trigger is reached. The simplified version can also be applied to a range of weather- and non-weather-related hazards.
There are, however, some important differences with the simplified EAPs:
- A shorter lifespan: just two years, compared to five years for a full EAP.
- A lower maximum budget of 200,000 Swiss francs (approx. 206,000 euros/211,000 US dollars), compared to 500,000 Swiss francs in the full EAP.
- A minimum target of 2,000 people, compared to 10,000 people under a full EAP.
The simplified EAP is being introduced as a three-year pilot (2022-2025) and the IFRC and its partners will then assess its effectiveness. For example, it is hoped that a simpler process will motivate more National Societies to plan in anticipation of a hazard; it will also be more feasible for National Societies without a partner for a full forecast-based financing project to access pre-agreed funding for anticipatory action from the DREF.
And the simplified EAP is already gaining interest. After outreach efforts by the IFRC to National Societies, in July the Nigerian Red Cross Society made the first official request to develop a simplified EAP to act ahead of floods.
The introduction of the simplified Early Action Protocol is one of the many steps we are taking, through our National Societies, to support communities at risk due to the climate crisis, among others, by being innovative, pragmatic and by scaling up anticipatory action.
This article was amended (18 August 2022) to clarify that the Nigerian Red Cross Society's simplified EAP for floods has not yet been approved or received funding; it has been submitted and is currently being reviewed.
Photos: The Kenya Red Cross Society conducts a multistakeholder simulation exercise to test the application of its EAPs. © Denis Onyodi/Kenya Red Cross Society