Early Warning Early Action
Evidence shows that one of the critical ways to reduce the impact of disasters is early warning and early action (also referred to as anticipatory/forecast-based action).
Early action happens between an early warning trigger and the actual disaster. Examples include transporting vulnerable people to shelters, protecting assets and livelihoods by early harvesting, early cash transfers, and reinforcing housing or classrooms.
Early Warning Early Action entails the provision of timely and meaningful information enabling people to take steps to reduce the impact of hazards. Early warning is typically multi-hazard and requires genuine ownership of, and participation by, communities and other stakeholders.
Forecast-based Financing is an approach which enables access to humanitarian funding for early action that can be taken based on meteorological forecast information, combined with risk analysis, to prepare for extreme weather events. The goal of FbF is to anticipate disasters, reduce their impact and reduce human suffering and losses.
The IFRC network has been innovating and improving the forecast-based action approach since 2007 with the RC/RC Climate Centre and German Red Cross at the forefront. Since 2014, the approach has been operationalized with pilot projects and, in May 2018, IFRC launched the first funding mechanism designed to fund forecast-based action, representing a critical turning point in making early action possible.
Empowering RCRC volunteers to take an active role in monitoring risks that influence their communities can teach them to both issue, and respond to, warnings that arise from the monitoring. Considering emergency alerts from national systems often do not reach everyone at risk, this kind of people-centred approach is essential to ensure information and warnings reach the most vulnerable communities. Where and when national early warning systems are active, CEWS complement governmental mandates to protect lives and livelihoods. Where they do not yet exist, CEWS also serve to catalyse dialogue about what national systems are required and how the National Societies, as auxiliary to governments, may play a role in supporting them.
The German Red Cross, IFRC and the Climate Centre officially launched the Anticipation Hub in December 2020 for the Red Cross Red Crescent network and the wider humanitarian system.
The Anticipation Hub is a one-stop-shop for knowledge exchange, learning and guidance on anticipatory action that brings together 60+ partners across the Red Cross Red Crescent movement, universities, research institutes, NGOs, UN agencies, governments and network initiatives, with funding support from the German Federal Foreign Office. These partners include long-established organisations working on anticipatory action, such as START Network, World Food Programme and UN OCHA, as well as organisations who have more recently entered this community. The Anticipation Hub strongly encourages new partners, including governments, to join and support this urgent shift of the humanitarian system.
Overall, the Hub aims to support and empower these actors to jointly enable effective anticipatory humanitarian action in practice, at greater pace and scale, to reduce loss and suffering of communities ahead of disasters. It is set at the interface between practice, science and policy. Key activities center around providing technical support & advice, stimulating innovation, learning & exchange, and promoting lasting change through sustained policy & advocacy efforts.
For more information, visit the Anticipation Hub website.
The REAP was launched in 2019 at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. It seeks to make one billion people safer from disasters by greatly expanding early action financing and improving early warning systems and the capacity to act on risks they identify. IFRC hosts the Secretariat of the Partnership.
For more information, visit the REAP website.