29 Jun 2023

Two formats, one focus: the 7th Asia-Pacific Dialogue Platform

The central theme for the 7th Asia-Pacific Dialogue Platform is ensuring the sustainable growth of anticipatory action in the region. The first part of this year’s event – which took place as a three-day in-person meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal – provided clear evidence that this is happening.  

One critical factor for the sustainable growth of this approach is government buy-in. There were encouraging signs in this respect during the meeting in Kathmandu. “Governments are starting to own anticipatory action and to lead the process, for example in Bangladesh and Nepal,” said Margarettha Siregar from World Vision in Indonesia. “The dialogue platforms are good opportunities for other governments [to see how anticipatory action works]; we bring them to these meetings – and they are quite impressed.”

A total of 232 people from 24 countries gathered in Nepal for the meeting. “We had a record number of participants and a record number of session proposals,” noted Raymond Zingg, IFRC in Thailand, who coordinates the dialogue platforms. “Importantly, partners came together to highlight topics, not just their own work. This helps to build a sense of community: that we are all in it together – and this is for the better.”

“It’s clear that people really want to collaborate,” agreed Niroj Sapkota, Start Fund Nepal, who also identified the approach used at the meeting as a personal highlight. “It was full of energy, exciting and learning; not just presentations, but interactivity. The overall dazzle of the event was unforgettable.”

One of the many interactive tools used during the in-person meeting was a new board game, ‘Anticipatory action – beat the hazard!’

New themes in the spotlight

The regional dialogue platforms are also an opportunity for practitioners to present the latest evidence from their projects. One theme that received increased attention this year was heat waves. “Some countries lack experience [in how to address this hazard] and some are still in denial,” noted Margarettha Siregar. “But it is growing and there is a chance for anticipatory action [to play a role].”

New tools and resources for scaling up anticipatory action were also shared, including the recently launched Technical Standards on Anticipatory Action in Asia and the Pacific. “This is a ‘living’ document that will be regularly updated,” explained Inyoung Jang, FAO in Thailand. “For example, we plan to take advantage of the upcoming national dialogue platforms, such as the ones in Bangladesh and Pakistan, to revise these.”

From Nepal to online

Another feature of this year’s Asia-Pacific Dialogue Platform was testing a new approach to hybrid events: separating the in-person and online elements. This was done to allow presenters and participants alike to give each format their full attention, and to adapt the approach for sessions accordingly. The first two sessions targeted at the online audience took place after the conclusion of the meeting in Kathmandu.  

The first online session showcased how OpenStreetMap supports anticipatory action and sought to foster collaboration between the Open Mapping Hub in Asia-Pacific and the anticipatory action community in the region. The second session was held as a community conversation, providing a forum for practitioners from the region to reflect on and continue the discussions that began in Kathmandu. Both of these sessions can be watched again on the YouTube playlist for the Asia-Pacific Dialogue Platform, and further sessions will be scheduled throughout the year.

All photos © Anticipation Hub / Skanda Gautam