By Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre

The Togolese Red Cross, German Red Cross and IFRC Climate Centre have been recognized in the ‘Edge of Government Award’ at the World Government Summit in Dubai for joint groundbreaking work on forecast-based financing (FbF). The award was presented to Togo’s Ministry of the Environment.

Forecast-based financing in Togo was among 13 innovative programmes that made it through to the final stage of the Edge of Government exhibition, attended by hundreds of visitors. The exhibition, at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation, was designed to challenge people to think in new and often counter-intuitive ways about how to solve the most pressing public challenges of our time.

The competition identifies outstanding examples of government innovation from across the globe that have so far flown ‘under the radar’ and point to emerging new trends.

Danger levels

The finalists – evaluated for their novelty, impact and replicability – were shortlisted from a global field. Togo was the only entry from Africa and there were also exhibits from Brazil and Peru, another Red Cross forecast-based finance pilot country.

FbF in Togo includes a flood-prediction tool which ‘learns’ by integrating hydro-meteorological and humanitarian data. Danger levels were anticipated and flood preparedness measures, supported by the environment ministry’s National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, included early [Nangbeto] dam releases, which reduced flood impact and also gave the Togolese Red Cross time to prepare vulnerable communities before the flooding began.

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, presented the award on the final day of the summit to Nelson Akibode of the Togolese platform and Dr Pablo Suarez, Climate Centre Associate Director for Research and Innovation.

Climate science

Dr Suarez that too many people still suffer and die for entirely predictable reasons such as floods. “Unfortunately government systems, especially in developing countries, are not set up to link climate science with policy and with practice,” He said.

“We’re extremely happy that through the initiative of forecast-based financing, information enables early action triggered by early warning, with money that is allocated to save lives, prevent loss and preserve human dignity.”

The project in Togo is supported by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the German Red Cross, who were among partners cited in the award, along with the Electricity Community of Benin (jointly owned by the governments of Benin and Togo), the Global Facility for Disaster Redustion and Recovery, and the Code for Resilience programme.

Dr Jemilah Mahmood, Under-Secretary General for Partnerships at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said the award demonstrated the strength of innovative thinking within the Red Cross and Red Crescent. “This award recognizes our efforts to look beyond traditional solutions to a crisis and work with communities to build an effective approach to preparing for, and responding to disasters,” she said.

With backing from the IFRC and funding from the German Federal Foreign Office, the German Red Cross and the World Food Programme, the Climate Centre is testing this approach in other high-risk countries including Bangladesh, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mozambique, Nepal, the Philippines and Peru.

Image: Nelson Akibode of the Togolese National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and Dr Pablo Suarez, Climate Centre Associate Director for Research and Innovation, received the ‘Edge of Government Award’ from UAE Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum yesterday, the last day of the World Government Summit. (Photo: Helle Carstensen)