For many years, scientists have been able to effectively predict disasters before they happen. Despite this, the humanitarian community has not yet figured out how to respond to disasters before they happen. In recent years, the humanitarian sector began implementing anticipatory action mechanisms, which mean that actors are trying to act “smarter” and earlier to reduce the impact of disasters on vulnerable people, thereby saving lives and reducing human suffering.

While there is huge ambition within the humanitarian sector, we do not yet know what anticipatory action mechanisms work, where, and why. The evidence gaps relate to nutrition, social protection, fragile contexts, disaster risk finance, drought, vulnerability, famine, and climate change. For example, we do not yet know if distributing shelter reinforcement materials protects people from cyclone impacts, or if such distributions encourage people to shelter in more dangerous situations than they would without the materials thereby causing greater loss of life. Before we continue to fund and implement such programs, we need better evidence.

The Academic Alliance for Anticipatory Action (4As) is a global consortium of universities (see Partners tab) that is developing the evidence base on anticipatory action. The consortium is collaborating with humanitarian agencies that are implementing anticipatory action, including the Red Cross, WFP, OCHA, and START Network.

4As is supported by the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance under cooperative agreement 720BHA21CA00044.

Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology

The Institute of Water and Flood Management (IWFM) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) has expertise and research experience in water resources engineering and management, flood and storm damage assessment, hydro-climatic hazards, river engineering, and climate change adaptation as they relate to socio-economic and livelihood outcomes. The Institute emphasizes science-policy linkage and works closely with government ministries, departments, and agencies.

4As team includes: Mashfiqus Salehin, Sonia Binte Murshed, Shampa

Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique

Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) is the oldest and most reputable higher education institution in Mozambique. It is multi-disciplinary with academic, research, and extension services. With an annual enrollment of around 5,000 students across 11 departments and 6 graduate schools, UEM’s mission is to “produce and disseminate scientific knowledge and promote innovation through research as the foundation of teaching-learning and extension processes, educating generations with humanistic values in order to face contemporary challenges in favor of the development of society.”

4As team includes: Luis Artur and Meizal Popa

Feinstein International Center, Tufts University

The Feinstein International Center is a research and teaching center based at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. The Center protects and strengthen the lives, livelihoods, and dignity of people affected by or at risk of hunger and humanitarian crises. Faculty and researchers at the Center work to support decision-makers at every level to more actively engage with evidence and learning to bring about positive change among at-risk and marginalized populations.

4As team includes: Erin Coughlan de Perez, Carolyn Van Sant, Evan Easton-Calabria, Komal Rathod, Leah B. Poole, Daniel Maxwell

Makerere University, Uganda

The Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) is a research and teaching institution. MakSPH conducts research and provides consultation services to the Government of Uganda and various national and international health organizations as well as bilateral and multilateral agencies involved in health. The 4As partners bring expertise in health, nutrition, and policy advocacy.

4As team includes:  Christopher Garimoi Orach, Harriet Aber Odonga, Evelyne Baelvina Nyachwo, and John Bosco Bwanika

National University of Lesotho

The National University of Lesotho (NUL) is a university with about 11,000 students, four institutes, and two affiliated colleges. It offers both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in agriculture, health sciences, law, social sciences, education, humanities, and science and technology. NUL works with government, NGOs, and UN agencies providing technical support in action research around climate change, health, and food security.

4As team includes  Makoala V. Marake, Relebohile A. Mojaki, Joalane R. Marunye

University of Namibia

The University of Namibia is a multi-campus public research university which offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in social science, public health, environmental science, and climate change that provide intensive capacity building training and academic upward mobility through teaching, research, publication, and service to the wider community including government, humanitarian agencies, NGOs, and international collaborations with other institutions globally.

4As team includes: Selma Lendelvo, Gert Van Rooy, Mechtilde Pinto

University of the Philippines

The University of the Philippines Resilience Institute (UPRI) supports the country’s efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change by using multidisciplinary approaches to build resilience among local communities. Its keynote project is Project NOAH, a research center for climate actions and disaster risk reduction and management. It promotes increased awareness of disaster risk by empowering local communities to prevent and mitigate disasters and developing tools for local governments, community leaders, policy makers, planners, and families to prevent and mitigate disasters.

4As team includes:  Alfredo Mahar Francisco A. Lagmay, Kristoffer B. Berse, Dennis dela Torre,  Elton Pierre R. Evidente

Acting in Advance of Flooding: Early action in South Sudan
Image of Brief Cover: Actingin in Advance of Flooding
By Evan Easton-Calabria | May 2023

In 2022 UN OCHA led a pilot anticipatory action intervention in South Sudan. This brief presents UN actors’ perceptions of this intervention.

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Anticipatory Action in Motion: Recapping the most recent evidence and illuminating a pathway forward
Cover of Report "Anticipatory Action in Motion"

This anticipatory action landscape brief summarizes what has been published on anticipatory action since 2020 and what progress has been made on existing recommendations.

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Behavior Change in the Face of Disaster Risk Finance
By Theodore Ezike | September 2022

Disaster Risk Finance (DRF) mechanisms are relatively new in anticipatory action. This paper explores how DRF can affect individual behavior or risk perception.

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Trauma-Informed Anticipatory Action: Considerations for Refugees and Other Displaced Populations
cover of Trauma Informed Anticipatory Action Brief
By Evan Easton-Calabria | September 2022

This brief builds on the existing body of knowledge on trauma-informed practice to explore ways that anticipatory action for displaced populations can be improved.

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Air Pollution, Human Health, Weather Events, and Anticipatory Action
Cover of Report on Air Pollution and Anticipatory Action
By Leah B. Poole | September 2022

This paper explains the connection between air pollution and climate change and considers how anticipatory action can address the impact of air pollution.

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Disaster Risk Financing: An Overview From Lesotho
cover of report about disaster risk financing in Lesotho

This brief examines Lesotho, a small country in southern Africa that is highly vulnerable to climate hazards, is equipped to make use of DRF.

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How Can Social Protection Systems Be Leveraged for Anticipatory Action?
cover of report: how can social protection systems be leverages for anticipatory action?

This literature review examines social protection systems in hazard-prone countries to make recommendations on how these systems could be best used to inform or implement anticipatory action.

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The 4As team is regularly contributing research and commentary to publications and websites around the globe.