Damage after cyclone Batsirai in Mananjary, Madagascar. | © A. Fanantenana / HI
The disproportionate impact of disasters on women, children, aging individuals and persons with disabilities is recognized, but still not fully addressed. HI is preparing anticipatory action in three countries to reduce disaster impact and mainstream an understanding of disaster risks.
447 natural hazard-related disasters occurred worldwide in 2021, affecting millions of people and taking nearly 14,500 lives*. The possibilities of predicting when shocks occur, and the humanitarian impacts they have, have substantially increased in the last decade, particularly for extreme climate events. By taking an anticipatory approach – using “evidence of risk”, instead of “suffering” – we can today better protect and save lives, optimize resources, and preserve hard- won development gains. Anticipatory Action has become a critical component at the intersection of disaster risk reduction and humanitarian aid, with the aim to take action before the worst impacts of a crisis materialize to reduce the impact, complementing longer-term disaster risk reduction actions.
Anticipatory Action aims to benefit communities and yet does not sufficiently take into consideration the specific needs of people in vulnerable situations such as women, children, aging invidivuals, people with disabilities, LGBTQI+ people and other marginalized groups who are among those in greatest need of protection. Indeed, they are disproportionately affected by climate change impacts and disasters due to social exclusion and being routinely overlooked in disaster planning. Therefore, there is a need to strengthen inclusive guidance for Anticipatory Action implementation. As an inherent part of its mandate, HI will promote Inclusive Anticipatory Action through the newly awarded project “Towards Greater Impact for Forecast-based Early Action Approaches?”.
This 3-year project, funded with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO), aims to support the most vulnerable people impacted by climate-related shocks and stresses. It will be piloted in three countries highly exposed to disaster risks, namely Haiti, The Philippines and Madagascar. In each targeted country and region, the most vulnerable people in affected communities will participate throughout the process of designing and testing early action protocols. This will be achieved by proactively identifying and engaging those whose voices are insufficiently heard, working with community leaders, Civil Society Organizations, anticipatory action stakeholders and local institutions to develop inclusive and person-centered approaches.
This will result in conducting foundational studies and mapping exercises, which will be produced and disseminated to generate evidence on inclusion in current early action models and related gaps, and inform HI development of Early Action protocols (EAPs). Early action protocols will be developed and tested by HI, with an emphasis on enhancing outcomes with reference to inclusion and tailored support. Capacity-building, knowledge-building and technical assistance activities will also be carried out to foster local and global uptake of inclusion best practice within the anticipatory action community.
To conduct those actions, HI recently became a partner of the Anticipation Hub one of the key platforms of the Anticipatory Action Community of Practice, an initiative of the German Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Center aiming at facilitating knowledge exchange around anticipatory action. As a partner of this initiative, HI will be promoting Inclusive Anticipatory Action through a coordinated approach with other partners and through working groups dedicated to mainstream Protection Gender and Inclusion (PGI) in Anticipatory Action. HI will also continue to closely coordinate with the START Network as a member of this other key platform building knowledge and capacities on Anticipatory Action.
With this initiative, this project takes over our new federal strategic objective adopted in 2021: 3.5 Finding solutions adapted to each context and facilitating the links between emergency and development projects. This objective responds to the need of reinforcing and coordinating our efforts to and with the population which are the most exposed to climate change’s impacts and disaster, increasing their vulnerability. With this project, HI will help improve inclusive anticipatory actions by bringing its expertise and working closely with other specialist organizations in anticipatory action. This will allow more inclusive solutions to be found, accordingly to specific needs. HI’s expertise and leading role in inclusive action is a true asset in a world where climate-related concerns are constantly growing. Developing Inclusive Anticipatory Actions reinforces our posture and our ability to intervene in multiple contexts constantly challenged by climate change.
* CRED EM-DAT.