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Start Network’s new paper "Putting People at the Centre of Early Action" launched today says that going forward, enabling communities to act ahead of a potential disaster will require a focus on localisation, putting at-risk people at the centre of the process to mainstream early humanitarian action.

Since the Start Fund anticipation work began in 2016, the fund has allocated £3.7 million to implement nineteen early action projects in response to all types of disasters in fourteen countries across Africa and Asia. The majority of actions are in response to rapid-onset events characterised by short forecast lead times (typically one-two weeks) with limited time to activate and implement early actions.  Similar to the Start Fund, the anticipatory alert cycle is quick, with allocation decisions made within 24 hours, with a target activation time of seven days.

To increase member’s ability to undertake forecast-based actions, the Start Anticipation Team has been working to improve forecasting tools and develop technical guidance and training resources. 

Based on the information provided by Start Network staff, members and partners, the review highlights existing forecast-based tools and platforms used to inform early action. 

To support a more anticipatory response system three distinct but connected lines of action (work-streams) are required:

  • Bringing national forecasts to the local level:  Dissemination and tailoring of national risk information to the needs and priorities of at-risk people, including impact-based forecasting.
  • Localisation of processes: Developing decentralised community-managed tools and methodologies that empowers local responders, utilises the capacities and agency of at-risk people, and connect with wider national-level structures and processes.
  • Mainstreaming early action into existing humanitarian and development programs:  Extending outreach and integrating early action into relevant emergency response and longer-term local adaptation and resilience initiatives in hazard-prone areas.

The key gaps highlighted related to issues of impact-based forecasts;  localisation; community preparedness; mainstreaming; innovative partnerships; and policy advocacy all provide opportunities for the further development of tools, knowledge products, capacity building and technical advisory services. 

The review closes with general and country-specific recommendations to address these gaps and utilise opportunities at local, national and regional levels in the following priority areas:

  • Influencing Policies
  • Implementation:  Localisation / Mainstreaming 
  • Partnerships and Alliances
  • Knowledge Products, Tools and Services 

Collectively the recommended actions should improve the quality of Start Network's anticipation work and enable people affected by crises to act early before a crisis turns into a disaster. 

Read the Start Network position paper "Putting People at the Centre of Early Action" here

For further information contact: Emma Flaherty

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  • by Helen James

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