Anticipatory Action/DRR

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What is Anticipatory Action?

Anticipatory action (AA) is a humanitarian term. The Red Cross defines it as:

“A set of actions taken to prevent or mitigate potential disaster impacts before a shock or before acute impacts are felt. The actions are carried out in anticipation of a hazard impact and based on a prediction of how the event will unfold.”

World Disaster Report 2020, IFRC

A report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) outlines the benefits of anticipation actions. “…Anticipatory action supports vulnerable people at a stage when receiving aid bears the biggest results: before a crisis has taken place,” states the FAO report.  

Why is MapAction doing Anticipatory Action work?

Anticipatory action has the power to dramatically reduce suffering, improve outcomes for people affected by crises, and make resources go further. But it only works if the models driving Anticipatory Action can be operated with good, reliable data, in locations where data is not always easy to find. MapAction has been helping humanitarians to find the right data for over 20 years and can see where we can add value.

  • Between 2010 and 2020… 410,000 people were killed by extreme weather and climate-related events, mostly by heat waves and storms. In the same period… 83% of all disasters were caused by extreme weather and climate-related events There has been a 35% increase in climate and weather-related hazards since 1990. Source: World Disaster Report 2020
  • The FAO estimates that every USD 1 invested into anticipatory action programmes can create a return for farming families of more than USD 7 in avoided losses and added benefits.
  • The East Asia and Pacific region alone includes 13 of the 30 countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, according to the World Bank. “Without concerted action, the region could see an additional 7.5 million people fall into poverty due to climate impacts by 2030,” warns the global financial institution.  
  • Marginalised or minority groups continue to be disproportionately affected by disasters, as highlighted by the World Risk Report 2023

How does MapAction support global anticipatory action frameworks?

The MapAction AA method

MapAction’s work in anticipatory action focuses on four key strategic pillars.

1. Collaborative risk modelling: MapAction, together with partners, helps to establish what components constitute an anticipatory action risk model from start to finish. Using decades of experience garnished from the frontlines of 150+ disasters, MapAction’s work helps to break down information management barriers for humanitarian and disaster management agencies. We do this by working with national and subnational disaster management agencies – through collaborations with networks like Start Network and INFORM. 

2.  Landscape co-mapping: MapAction proactively consults with national and subnational partners, both governmental and non-governmental, to co-map disaster management landscapes and ensure that sustainability and local ownership are at the heart of each risk model.Where data is missing, we find it; where models are outdated or incomplete, we make them fit for purpose. 

3. Sustainability: Our team of 100+ experienced global staff and volunteers ensure local agencies, CSOs and stakeholders are able to maintain, update, use and advantageously deploy all risk models created. Local ownership is fundamental to ensuring long-term disaster preparedness. 

4. Local ownership: MapAction works with local, regional and national disaster authorities and partners to ensure that all landscape mapping and risk modelling tools are co-authored and ultimately owned, and for the benefit of, local partners. 

Risk Modelling

MapAction’s team of 9 data scientists and 35+ vetted and trained humanitarian GIS specialists have been working with disaster management agencies across five continents  in the last decade to strengthen disaster preparedness. Our teams bring this expertise, coupled with the spirit of volunteerism, to every new risk model we co-create with local disaster managers and stakeholders, ensuring quality control and data standards are maintained. 

Our 70+ volunteers are health, environment, academic and disaster risk reduction specialists who work for organisations as varied as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, British Geographic Society, Ordnance Survey, British Antarctic Society and several environmental agencies.


INFORM is a global leader in preparing the analysis and indicators necessary for humanitarian preparedness and early action. But INFORM’s analysis and indicators only work if they are provided with reliable data, and that is where MapAction comes in. We help countries to understand the needs of INFORM, and to implement the standards and systems required to give aid agencies confidence to act early

MapAction is a member of INFORM, a multi-stakeholder forum for developing shared, quantitative analysis relevant to humanitarian crises and disasters. INFORM includes organisations from across the multilateral system, including the humanitarian and development sector, donors, and technical partners. The Joint Research Center of the European Commission is the scientific lead for INFORM. INFORM is developing a suite of quantitative, analytical products to support decision-making on humanitarian crises and disasters. These help make decisions at different stages of the disaster management cycle, specifically climate adaptation and disaster prevention, preparedness and response.

MapAction works with national and subnational disaster management authorities under the INFORM umbrella to ensure they have the right data and models to be as prepared as possible for future hazards. 

“The partnership between INFORM and MapAction greatly increases our capacity to support countries to develop INFORM Subnational risk models. These models help countries understand their risks and inform planning and programming to better prevent and prepare for crises and disasters.”

Andrew Thow, INFORM Programme Manager

Start Network

MapAction is also a member of Start Network. Start Network enables NGOs to access fast and dependable funding to respond to under-the-radar crises or to plan for predictable crises. Members can also access business models, tools and resources that are not usually available to single organisations. Start Network is made up of more than 80 non-governmental organisations across five continents, ranging from large international organisations to local and national NGOs. 

READ ALSO: MapAction continues to strengthen global disaster preparedness in summer of 2023

Where does MapAction work with INFORM?

MapAction has committed to working with national and subnational disaster management authorities worldwide in the next 18 months under the INFORM umbrella. 


In December 2023, MapAction worked with the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) and UNDP in Eswatini to develop a new national and subnational hazard model. More than 87 data sets from 49 sources were reviewed and calibrated as part of the project. Read more below.

READ MORE: Strengthening disaster preparedness country-by-country with the INFORM Risk index

Who supports MapAction’s anticipatory action work?

MapAction’s anticipatory action programmes are funded by the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) and the Insurance Development Forum (IDF). 

READ ALSO: 7 Country Missions Completed Successfully as Part of Phase 1 Programme for Anticipatory Action and Disaster Risk Reduction

For partnerships

(EN) MapAction works with disaster management authorities and networks worldwide to strengthen data quality and humanitarian information management preparedness. If you would like to discuss a potential partnership, please contact our Head of Programmes and Partnerships Marina Kobzeva:   

(FR) MapAction travaille avec les autorités et les réseaux de gestion des catastrophes dans différentes parties du monde pour renforcer la qualité des données et la préparation à la GI humanitaire. Si vous souhaitez discuter d’un partenariat potentiel, veuillez contacter notre responsable des programmes et des partenariats Marina Kobzeva:   

(PT) A MapAction trabalha com autoridades e redes de gestão de desastres em diferentes partes do mundo para fortalecer a qualidade dos dados e a preparação para a gestão da informação humanitária. Para discutir uma possível parceria, entre em contato com nossa Chefe de Programas e Parcerias, Marina Kobzeva: