Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Weeks
HNPW 2024 (29 April - 10 May 2024)

Session title: Emergency prioritisation in the face of funding gaps: Is anticipatory action the answer?
25 Apr 23 11:00-12:30

Over the course of the last year, we have seen humanitarian needs reach unprecedented highs, and while funding levels have increased, the humanitarian funding gap has also widened. As the size, complexity, and scale of emergencies intensifies, humanitarians are grappling with tough decisions on where, who, why, and particularly how to prioritise both between and within emergencies. From the drought and projected famine in the Horn of Africa, spiralling urban violence in Haiti, and the devastating impacts of climate change in action, populations requiring life-saving assistance continue to grow – and as a community, we have not been able to respond as quickly or effectively as we would like to. The wide-reaching repercussions of the Ukraine crisis following COVID-19 have led to discussions at all levels on whether we need a radical rethinking on how we anticipate, plan for, and respond to emergencies.

Within this environment, we see two potential risks: the first, the increasing possibility of system failure to respond and provide life-saving assistance to those that need it most; and the second, the increasing possibility of analytical failure, as analysts also struggle to successfully monitor and properly analyse ongoing and new emergencies, and identify the areas and populations facing the highest needs.

While many have turned to Anticipatory Action initiatives as the answer, many of the existing systems are fragmented, siloed, or myopic, and lack tangible links to decision-makers and emergency responders. Few systems meaningfully include expert judgement, particularly from local voices, leading to a greater risk of blind spots or misfiring models. Indeed, even when analytical models are successful, the disconnect from emergency responders means this is no guarantee of a response taking place.

From a multidisciplinary perspective, this panel brings together academics, policy-makers, and practitioners to have a frank discussion on the prospects for early warning and anticipatory action in practice, and to propose pragmatic solutions to some of these problems at local and global level.

Panel Organiser: REACH

Panelists (to be confirmed upon acceptance of the abstract):
• Academic (Tufts/CHC)
• Practitioner (ICVA/INGO rep)
• National actor (SPARC/ODI partner)
• Donor (BHA or FCDO)
• UN (OCHA or CHD)
• REACH (facilitator)

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