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Anticipatory Action


OCHA facilitates collective anticipatory action

Today, we can predict with increasing confidence the occurrence and humanitarian impact of certain shocks. By combining different analytical approaches, out-of-the-ordinary events cannot only be predicted, but their projected humanitarian impact can be proactively mitigated based on pre-identified anticipatory actions.

Building on growing evidence that acting prior to the onset of a predictable shock is significantly faster, dignified and more (cost-)effective than traditional humanitarian response, OCHA has facilitated the set-up of multiple anticipatory action frameworks.


Working with critical partners, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Start Network, which all have extensive experience in anticipatory action projects, in 2020 OCHA facilitated the development of five collective anticipatory action pilots: Bangladesh (monsoon floods), Ethiopia (drought), Malawi (dry spells/floods), Somalia (drought), and preliminary work in Chad.

In 2021, the Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) selected six more pilots: Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Nepal, Niger, the Philippines and South Sudan. In addition, the ERC decided to initiate an improved anticipatory action pilot in Bangladesh, as well as a multi-country framework focused on cholera.

Anticipatory Action map

Each pilot framework comprises three core elements:

  • A robust forecast-based trigger embedded in a clear decision-making process (the model)
  • Pre-agreed action plans that can mitigate the impact of the emergency and the need for humanitarian relief (the delivery)
  • Pre-arranged finance (the money)

Collective, anticipatory action is still an innovative space. Thus, in addition to the three core elements, OCHA-facilitated pilots also invest in documenting evidence and learning from each framework underpinned by a clear learning, monitoring and evaluation plan.


Learning, monitoring and evaluation plan

Each pilot is evaluated to assess if 1) collective anticipatory humanitarian action at scale works, and whether the anticipatory approach leads to a 2) faster, 3) more efficient (cheaper) and 4) more dignified response.

Learning is organized loosely along three buckets adapted to each pilot as relevant.

Process learning
Capture qualitative data on the benefits of setting up the pilot, as well as how the process supports high-quality anticipatory action frameworks and effective implementation.


Monitoring and evaluation (M&E)
Coordinated, agency-specific M&E to collect and track data on implementation progress and outputs achieved with some common, coordinated questions and indicators on timing, output, reach and challenges.


Independent evaluation

Independent evaluations may include:

  • A quantitative evaluation of the impact of anticipatory action on household welfare
  • A qualitative evaluation to assess beneficiary experience
  • Forecast/trigger evaluation to assess the performance of the predictive model and ways to improve