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) developing the evidence base on anticipatory action. This will be done in collaboration 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

Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique

Feinstein International Center, Tufts University

Makerere University, Uganda

National University of Lesotho

University of Namibia

University of the Philippines

Image of Brief Cover: Actingin in Advance of Flooding

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

Evan Easton-Calabria

• May 2023
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.

Leah B. Poole, Erin Coughlan de Perez, Shampa, Evan Easton-Calabria, Evelyne B. Nyachwo, Harriet Aber Odonga, Luis Artur, Relebohile Agnes Mojaki

• November 2022
cover of Trauma Informed Anticipatory Action Brief

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.

Evan Easton-Calabria

• September 2022
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.

Relebohile Agnes Mojaki, Evan Easton-Calabria, Erin Coughlan de Perez

• 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.

Theodore Ezike

• September 2022
Cover of Report on Air Pollution and Anticipatory Action

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

Leah B. Poole

• September 2022
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.

Leah B. Poole, Evan Easton-Calabria, Selma M. Lendelvo, Gert Van Rooy, Mechtilde Pinto, Tandi K. Litwayi, Luis Artur, Rogerio Sitole, Shampa, Mashfiqus Salehin

• May 2022

Coughlan de Perez, E., Arrighi, J. & Marunye, J. Challenging the universality of heatwave definitions: gridded temperature discrepancies across climate regions. Climatic Change 176, 167 (2023).

What is Disaster Risk Financing?
May 2024

What is disaster risk financing, and how can it help governments prepare for disasters such as climate change, flash floods, droughts, and epidemics? How did the Kingdom of Lesotho implement...

WEBINAR: Localized Anticipatory Action: Panacea and Pitfalls
January 2024

Localization aims to help those planning and executing anticipatory action better meet the needs of people affected by a disaster more quickly. Since the 2015 World Humanitarian Summit, practitioners, funders,...

WEBINAR: Predicting the Future to Strengthen Anticipatory Action
November 2023

In countries prone to climate and weather-related disasters, critical information helps governments, communities, and responders limit the effects of disasters. Researchers in Lesotho and the Philippines are developing new tools...