From Reaction to Anticipation: How to Expand and Finance Anticipatory Humanitarian Action


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While it is commonly accepted that acting early before a humanitarian crisis materializes can prevent loss of life and livelihoods, anticipatory humanitarian action, or the narrower Forecast-based Action (FbA) is not yet standard practice. It is, however, on the rise, with more and more actors engaging in FbA and more and more donors including FbA into their funding programs. So far, the approach has mainly been used for responses to different types of hydro-meteorological disasters. Actors are now increasingly thinking about how to expand these approaches to situations with existing or rising tensions and violent conflict, or how to include conflict-related challenges as types of emergencies that could trigger FbA since conflict and violence are major drivers of humanitarian disasters.
Applying anticipatory action in that direction poses unique challenges. While FbA for climate-related hazards aims at preventing or reducing a negative impact on affected populations following the strike of a disaster, conflict prevention programs typically aim at preventing the disaster itself. This is why discussions about anticipating conflict not only revolve around the sheer technical challenge of gathering and analyzing the amount of data that is necessary to trigger anticipatory systems, but also around the implications of a decision-making system that is based on predictions of conflict and violence – and possible implications for the humanitarian financing system.
This panel invites contributions on endeavors to expand the scope of FbA approaches to situations of conflict and violence. It focuses on similarities and differences of FbA for climate-related hazards and more directly human-induced crises. This also includes possible liaisons with other sectors, such as development or peacebuilding. Papers should address one or several of the following questions or similar themes:
• What lessons can actors draw from FbA for climate-related hazards?
• To what extent are early actions to prevent, mitigate and/or prepare for conflict similar to early actions for climate-related hazards and to what extent are they different?
• What can actors from different sectors (humanitarian, development, peacebuilding) learn from each other/ collaborate on regarding FbA? Which funding mechanisms could be combined / complement each other?
• What risks could actors be facing when applying FbA to human-induced crises regarding moral hazard and the risk of data manipulation? How can they be mitigated?
• What factors are hindering actors from applying FbA on a larger scale?
• What risks could FbA for conflict and violence entail regarding the humanitarian principles? How can these risks be addressed?
• How can the data for predictions/ forecasting on conflicts be improved? How to ensure that predictions are accepted as valid by relevant stakeholders?
• Could existing Disaster Risk Financing (DRF) tools be used to fund early actions relating to conflict? What other ways of innovative financing could be used?

Date(s) & Time(s)

November 4th, 2021
11:00 (GMT +1)
Room 23
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Marie Wagner