Anticipatory action

Anticipate, prepare, recover

Advances in weather forecasting and climate science now enable us to act before disasters strike rather than investing primarily in humanitarian response afterwards. These anticipatory approaches enable more people to receive the needed assistance ahead of predictable shocks.

Anticipatory action saves lives and limits the impact of disasters, and is a hallmark of the Climate Centre mission. Specifically, our work on anticipatory action builds on a long-standing element in the Climate Centre’s work: assisting the mainstreaming of early warning early action into Red Cross Red Crescent disaster management worldwide.

Our team comprises meteorologists, social scientists, hydrologists, and humanitarian experts, and our expertise notably lies in designing anticipatory action, including forecast-based financing (FbF), a concept developed by the Climate Centre and the German Red Cross in the early 2000s. Based on forecast information and risk analysis, FbF ensures the timely release of humanitarian funding for activities agreed in advance to meet a hazard.

We support anticipatory action and FbF in many ways, and are closely involved in developing forecast-based financing programmes worldwide, providing ongoing technical support to National Societies and their partners working on the concepts.

In addition to developing these mechanisms, we spearhead advocacy efforts, capacity building, research, critical reflection, learning and innovation on all aspects of anticipatory action. We also support mainstreaming the anticipatory approaches into social protection systems to ensure they are scaled up.

For more information contact Irene Amuron, Head of Anticipatory Action, on

Drought in Zimbabwe
Early action protocol

Drought in Zimbabwe

Responding to increased forecast likelihood of impacts related to El Niño, the Red Cross in Zimbabwe triggered the first of a two-stage stage early action protocol for drought that was finalized at the end of 2022, registering just over 20,000 affected beneficiaries.

The model it’s using plots five meteorological indicators, monitored throughout the growing season, with the first trigger encompassing early warning, distributions of seeds that tolerate drought, and inoculating livestock.

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Anticipatory action by the IFRC

The IFRC rolled out its improved approach to forecast-based financing approach in 2014. In 2018 it launched a forecast-based pillar of the Disaster Response Emergency Fund – its dedicated funding mechanism – that enables National Societies take early action before disasters strike.

To be effective, the IFRC says, it must involve meaningful engagement with at-risk communities themselves.

Anticipation Hub

The Hub, hosted by the German Red Cross, shares knowledge and experience on anticipatory humanitarian action to help scale up efforts in different countries, for different hazards by a range of users.

It is a platform for learning from experience, building partnerships, fostering coordination, and for the development and diffusion of new ideas.

The Hub will achieve these goals by connecting stakeholders, facilitating exchange and learning between individuals, governments, policy-makers, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, NGOs, UN agencies, researchers and other actors interested in anticipatory humanitarian action.


11th Global Dialogue Platform

The hybrid 11th Global Dialogue Platform on Anticipatory Humanitarian Action (photo) was held online and in Berlin from 10 to 12 October 2023. There was a large range of in-person sessions and a live studio, as well as virtual sessions involving participants from around the world, all within the theme: ‘People at the centre: scaling up anticipatory action’.

Concept note
11th Global Dialogue Platform

Early action seeds in Kenya

Farmers in Kenya’s southern Kwale county who had turned to logging and quarrying after prolonged drought harvested a variety of crops in early 2023 thanks to an early-action distribution of specialized seeds by the Kenya Red Cross Society.

Supported by the British and Dutch Red Cross, the operation began in October 2022 with the distribution to 1,500 farmers of three drought-tolerant and disease-resistant seeds: green grams, cowpeas and sorghum, replacing traditional but vulnerable maize; they were selected in consultation with the farmers and experts from the Department of Agriculture.

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