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

Session title: From saving to protecting lives - the scope of anticipatory action and the potential for cross-sector work
27 Apr 23 14:00-15:30   (Salle 15)

For decades, the humanitarian system has been focused on short-term support to save lives and alleviate suffering after a crisis has hit. Unfortunately, the system's reactive nature undermines the quality of the responses, which are often late, inadequate, centralised, and unable to deliver assistance while maintaining affected people’s dignity. The humanitarian system’s intrinsic aversion to change, compounded by humanitarian crises on the rise, has devastating consequences globally. Recent data by the Global Humanitarian Overview shows an increase of 65 million people in need compared to 2022.

In recent years, anticipatory humanitarian action has gained momentum. Our evidence suggests that around 55% of humanitarian crises are predictable but only 1% of this funding is organised in advance – despite this being a much more effective way of tackling these crises, and although anticipatory action is not a silver bullet to solve all types of crises it can provide more efficient assistance. Start Network’s anticipatory action funding mechanism, Start Ready, pre-positions funding for crises that happen with regular and predictable patterns of recurrence, like floods, droughts, and heatwaves.

One year on since Start Ready went live we, as an aggregator for funding, have learned some lessons. As a system change organisation, we want to open a dialogue about the potential of anticipatory action across the humanitarian spectrum and learn from unfamiliar sectors. This session will discuss how different actors in the humanitarian sector can work more efficiently together, using anticipatory action, to change the status quo of the humanitarian system. We will discuss the successes, challenges, and what unexplored stakeholders bring to the table to drive greater momentum and action. We will engage with institutional and corporate donors to hear about their experiences with funding anticipatory action and what lessons they can draw from this, and local organisations who are building the systems behind anticipation programmes, will share the reach of anticipatory action on the ground, and how communities are able to receive faster, proactive, and dignified assistance.

Expected Outcome

- Raise awareness of anticipatory action as an effective tool to provide faster, adequate, and dignified assistance.
- Discuss the potential of anticipatory action from a cost-effective angle, and how funding is maximised and stretched to ultimately protect more lives and livelihoods.
- Bring together stakeholders with different perspectives on the case for anticipatory humanitarian action, in the aim of increasing understanding of the individual barriers that these different stakeholders face in advocating and delivering anticipatory humanitarian action.


Konstantin Klammert, DRR & Anticipatory Action, GFFO

Audrey Onsomu, Vice-Chair of Start Ready Governance Committee

Gloria Soma, Director, Titi Foundation

Caroline Birch, Foundation Manager, Howden Group Foundation

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