Video: Urban risk model piloted with partners in Ecuador

In May 2024, MapAction, together with USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, the Ecuadorian Secretariat for Risk Management (SNGR) and the Decentralised Autonomous Government (GAD) of Manta, held a workshop in Manta – a coastal city in western Ecuador – to pilot an urban risk model based on the INFORM RISK INDEX methodology. The model provides disaster response managers and anticipatory action planners with a tool to understand the risk before, during and after disasters for specific urban communities. The workshop participants were civil society organisations working in the disaster risk reduction sector in Manta.

MapAction’s internal and external capacity building programmes are funded by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA).

How MapAction is using data to reduce human suffering in Madagascar

For more than a decade, MapAction has provided support to Madagascar’s national disaster management agency, managing and visualising key data to support decision-makers, during tropical storms and cyclones. Now the focus is on strengthening the island’s preparedness for any future disasters. This includes a nationwide review of overall information management capacity and gaps, training of stakeholders, tools to automate processes and a data-driven anticipatory action plan to reduce future suffering.

MapAction’s Head of Data science, Daniel Soares, at a workshop in 2024 in Antananarivo, Madagascar.

“Those who have good preparedness will be safe from danger.” So reads the maxim of Madagascar’s national disaster management agency (Bureau National de Gestion des Risques et des Catastrophes – BNGRC), whose job is to develop and implement contingency plans for natural disasters. 

No easy feat. Madagascar is one of the 10 poorest countries in Africa, meaning resources for this kind of work are stretched. Chronic malnutrition affects nearly 40 percent of children, according to data from the World Food Programme (WFP). More than 90 percent of the 28 million people who live in Africa’s largest island subsist on less than $3.10 p/day, according to the same source. Regular natural disasters add to the chronic food insecurity.

“The south of Madagascar is affected by a recurrent drought and the southeast is prone to recurrent cyclones and flooding,” states a report by WFP. “In these regions, up to 1.31 million people face high levels of acute food insecurity.” 

The BNGRC and partner agencies have a huge challenge to maximise resources for at risk-communities. 

MapAction has been working in Madagascar since 2012, providing maps and information management services for emergency respondents during four natural disasters: Tropical Cyclone Freddy (February 2023), Batsirai (February 2022), Enawo (March 2017) and Tropical Storm Irina (March 2012). These efforts were a combination of in-person responses with UN agencies and partners, as well as remote support. 

MapAction: Intro animation video 2023 from MapAction on Vimeo.

Fighting the climate emergency

In recent years, with natural disasters on the rise due to the climate emergency, humanitarian data use is changing. With the right understanding of risk and data-backed mitigation scenarios, disaster managers and partners in countries on the frontlines of the climate emergency, like Madagascar, can reduce future suffering. Anticipatory actions help save lives by ensuring local disaster managers have the data, tools and capacity they need to mitigate the worst effects of FUTURE disasters. A fire extinguisher puts out fires; an alarm helps prevent the worst flames. 

Data v. future disasters

For several years MapAction has been helping local disaster agencies to adopt the specialist and complex data standards that are required to use anticipatory action tools. This helps them access vital early funding based on pre-agreed ‘triggers’ signalled by data. These tools combine local knowledge of risks with things like climate data, enabling money and resources to be used to protect at-risk communities shortly before a disaster strikes.

In 2023 MapAction created a dedicated Anticipatory Action team and started contributing to the European Union designed INFORM Subnational Risk models, initially in Eswatini and most recently in Madagascar. MapAction’s Daniel Soares and Piet Gerrits co-led a consultation workshop with more than 40 stakeholders from UN agencies, government, academic institutions and civil society organisations in Madagascar in early 2024, in a process co-led by BNGRC, UNDP and UNICEF. 

The main outcome was the agreement on the so-called Madagascar INFORM Framework and the initial data collection. In total, 195 indicators – which cover hazards and exposure, vulnerability and coping capacity – were identified, with 88 flagged as very relevant.  These are all standard indicators for disaster scenarios. UNICEF also facilitated the inclusion of indicators designed to identify at-risk children. 

The data modelling work was preceded by extensive mapping of the disaster response landscape, as well as professional development events for stakeholders in Madagascar, to strengthen the country’s overall capacity to use geospatial and information management tools.

In 2022, MapAction decided to increase its focus on Madagascar, resulting in a spate of new programmes. That same year, MapAction joined Start Network, a network of 90 local and international organisations whose “mission is to create a new era of humanitarian action that will save even more lives.” 

READ ALSO: MapAction supports the Start Network to improve early action in humanitarian response | Start Network

Mapping training & food security

In 2023, MapAction conducted a training programme for staff from Start Network member organisations in Madagascar: team members from our organisation provided hazard data analysis and mapping training for tech representatives from civil society organisations within Start Network. 

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

Tool to automate maps in disasters

Since then, longtime MapAction team member Ant Scott has supported Start Network in developing processes to allow the Vulnerability Assessment Tool (video demo) to be shared and published online. The tool was developed in Madagascar, designed for GIS (Geospatial Information Systems, or mapping/spatial analysis tools) professionals at civil society organisations and local disaster managers. It’s a predictive model to understand which districts are most at risk in a cyclone, storm or hurricane. 

A screenshot from the Vulnerability Assessment Tool.

This vital information helps decision-makers to get an overview of a crisis: the places and communities most affected or exposed; the threats to health, wellbeing and security. The work MapAction has been supporting, using the Felt mapping platform, allows the results of the tool to swiftly be disseminated online and combined with other data in a way that gives easy access to everyone involved. 

READ ALSO: MapAction Data Science Lab, the story so far

Research: gaps & opportunities 

Other work has focused on identifying strengths and weaknesses in the country’s overall information management and geospatial sector. MapAction’s Anticipatory Action Analyst, Orla Desmond, met with dozens of stakeholders from government, NGOs and the academic sector in early 2024 in the Madagascar capital Antananarivo, part of a comprehensive ‘mapping’ of the disaster stakeholder landscape. The emphasis was on GIS strengths and weaknesses and anticipatory action. Discussions were held about GIS data sources, the quality and accessibility of data, and the types of data required by organisations carrying out anticipatory actions. Opportunities for improvements were then shared with Start Network in Madagascar as part of a 27-page comprehensive report. 

MapAction’s Orla Desmond at a meeting with stakeholders and partners in Madagascar.

Next steps

Our team also conducted training in parallel on developing baseline maps in a crisis – Who, What, Where maps (known in the industry as the ‘3Ws’) – a fundamental trio for any decision-maker in an emergency. 

Yet our work in Madagascar is far from finished. GIS consultant Ant Scott and data scientist Carola Martens are returning to the island in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on 17th June 2024 to conduct further training and hands-on workshops in GIS and data management skills. These will be for key personnel identified during the research and other local staff involved in disaster management and anticipatory action planning. The impact will be to strengthen the country’s overall response and planning capacity for disasters. 

Stay tuned for more risk models

Meanwhile, MapAction’s work building INFORM RISK Subnational models – data sets to mitigate hazards and disasters and protect at risk-communities – continues worldwide. 

“The partnership between INFORM and MapAction greatly increases our capacity to support countries to develop INFORM Subnational risk models,” says Andrew Thow, Programme Manager at the UN, an INFORM partner. “These models help countries understand their risks and inform planning and programming to better prevent and prepare for crises and disasters,” adds Thow. 

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

THIS WORK IS FUNDED BY THE GERMAN FEDERAL FOREIGN OFFICE

The work is also supported by the Insurance Development Forum.

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: mkobzeva@mapaction.org    

(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: mkobzeva@mapaction.org    

(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: mkobzeva@mapaction.org    

Strengthening disaster preparedness country-by-country with the INFORM Risk index

MapAction is supporting national and local disaster management authorities to reduce and address the multiple risks faced, provide better early warning systems and facilitate risk-informed development. We kickstarted our work in Eswatini

MapAction team members Daniel Soares and Anne-Marie Frankland, left, in blue t-shirts, together with representatives from UNDP, NDMA and other Eswatini agencies and ministries during the INFORM handover workshop in December 2023.

For nearly 20 years, in 140+ emergencies, MapAction has supported countries in mitigating disasters. Since July 2023, in partnership with the European Commission’s INFORM Risk Index, MapAction is working to support national and subnational disaster managers to update or rebuild their disaster forecasts, mitigating tools and risk atlases.

INFORM subnational risk models are an important source of information for anticipatory action, development and preparedness projects. Making sure that the models are high quality, with the best available data – and readily maintained, is essential.

In October 2023, MapAction began working with disaster authorities and international partners to build a risk and disaster model for Eswatini, a country in southern Africa with a population of just over one million. Building the risk model involves four technical processes: data collection, data processing, data calibration and data validation. All contribute to data quality control and the ‘authority’ of the model. 

MapAction’s Head of Data Science Daniel Soares meets disaster management authorities and stakeholders in Eswatini, southern Africa. Photos: MapAction.

“We are really pleased to currently work with four regional disaster management agencies across Asia and Africa, as well as working with many national disaster management authorities,” says MapAction’s CEO Colin Rogers. “Working with regional and national structures is core to our approach in strengthening global humanitarian geospatial capability,” adds Rogers. 

Fire extinguishers put out fires: fire alarms help prevent them. This risk assessment work is in partnership with various national and international partners, including: the Eswatini National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), UNDP and German technical development agency GIZ and will serve as a basis for the future SADC regional model also developed by UNDP, GIZ and SADC country members.

“Address multiple risks”
“UNDP Eswatini is committed to working… to reduce and address multiple risks we are facing, provide better early warning systems and facilitate risk-informed development to progress towards aspirations and goals set in the National Development Plan,” said UNDP’s Eswatini Deputy Resident Representative Nessie Golakai, outlining the UN agency’s goals on anticipatory action, in December 2023.

Eswatini: risk overview

An INFORM Subnational risk index shows a detailed picture of risk and its components within a single region or country. It covers not only hazards exposure (e.g. earthquakes, floods and conflicts) but also a country’s vulnerabilities, such as diseases prevalence and poverty, as well as its coping capacity. Of particular interest for Eswatini are droughts and associated food insecurity issues. In 2023, 238,000 in Eswatini faced “acute food insecurity,” according to an IPC study reported on ReliefWeb. Eswatini also has the highest HIV prevalence in the world, according to data from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

READ ALSO: Eswatini, Climate Change Knowledge Portal

Four key data processes

For the first phase of strengthening Eswatini’s risk model, a consultation workshop took place in August 2023 bringing together national partners, SADC representatives, GIZ and UNDP. During the workshop, the model framework was defined, covering which indicators are most relevant for Eswatini and other SADC countries. A total of 87 indicators from 49 data sources were identified, including data from public international agencies such as the WHO, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Bank, as well as national ministries, agencies and databases. 

Then comes the data processing. Data comes in different formats such as spreadsheets, pdf reports and geospatial vectors and rasters. The processing can be as easy as finding a given value for the adult literacy per region on a report or as complicated as manipulating several geospatial rasters and administrative boundaries to compute exposed population to flooding per sub-region.

Making data comprehensible 

The data then needs to be calibrated. Values have different ranges and units, such as number of casualties, corruption index, immunisation rate or health facilities density. To be able to aggregate these values on a single index, a normalisation is needed, such as dividing all values by the maximum within a country or region. Once indicators are expressed in a common format (a value between 0 and 10) we can aggregate them to have one index per dimension (Hazards, Vulnerability and Capacity) and finally a single index per subnational zone.

READ ALSO: MapAction Data Science Lab: the story so far

These three steps all produce margins of error; in the final phase the data is reviewed and validated. In this phase, indicators are verified and where necessary, corrected. Partners from Eswatini made vital contributions to validate the overall results and methodologies and suggest improvements.

Handover and sustainability 

The work was presented to partners at a two-day handover workshop in Eswatini in December 2023 by MapAction’s Head of Data Science Daniel Soares, Senior Meal Advisor Samuel Asimi and Volunteer Anne-Marie Frankland. This handover workshop was intended for NDMA staff to take ownership of the model, while also validating it to identify improvements. The two-day event also incorporated professional development components pegged to the INFORM methodology with a practical focus on data collection, processing and calibration. 

On a practical note, three ways also emerged from the event as to how the model would be used going forward. 

  1. To support decision making on disaster preparedness, early action, disaster response and recovery.
  2. To determine the level of exposure and vulnerability of localities for improved policy recommendation and more effective DRR measures
  3. To coordinate data collection, storage and sharing in order to strengthen reporting and decision making based on scientific evidence. The data will be updated according to the agency’s needs, although MapAction’s recommendation is a complete update every 24 to 36 months. 
MapAction’s Head of Data Science Daniel Soares presenting with local partners in Eswatini.

MapAction’s work in Eswatini is part of a larger project supported by the German Federal Foreign Office to strengthen global anticipatory action frameworks at local level. MapAction will work with several countries on new subnational models for disaster preparedness in the course of the next 18 months. 

Work has already begun on developing a new subnational risk model for Saint Kitts and Nevis. We are also currently scoping new collaborations for early 2024 in Madagascar, Vanuatu, Fiji and Lebanon.

Sustainability

A key part of the work MapAction does is to ensure the sustainability of various interventions we carry out across the globe. We do this through identifying and unblocking barriers in a collaborative way with our partners. The aim of this is to encourage the building of sustainable systems to outlive MapAction’s support to these partners who may be state or non-state actors.

In addition to the above, within MapAction’s Anticipatory Action programme, we seek to ensure longevity and sustainability by establishing effective evaluation frameworks and sharing lessons learned with the wider community.

During the 2023 December Workshop, one session on Sustainability was hosted by Samuel Asimi, who highlighted the sustainability components for the INFORM Eswatini Risk model.

He noted that the handover workshop was the first of three components of the sustainability plan. The other two which will follow are the planned sustainability landscape mapping and the co-creation of an action plan. This initiative will be led by the NDMA and supported by MapAction.

This work was kindly supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Insurance Development Forum (IDF)

MapAction Data Science Lab: the story so far

Since its inception MapAction has worked on leveraging technical expertise and geospatial technologies to transform humanitarian decision-making. In 2022, the ‘Data Science Lab’ became an even more integral part of MapAction’s work, adding new staff, resources and projects. 

By Daniel Soares, Head of Data Science, MapAction

The first tentative steps to establish a data science unit at MapAction began in 2020 with one staff data scientist and another volunteer working in partnership with OCHA Centre for Humanitarian Data. The team continued to grow and on a summer night in 2022, the Data Science Lab was officially born. Eighteen months later the team has grown: we now have two staff members and six data science volunteers. Four more are set to join in 2024. This is, of course, without counting our many GIS volunteers with advanced data skills working as data scientists or similar roles in their prestigious day jobs.

READ MORE: A year of collaboration with the Centre for Humanitarian Data

Carola Martens, data science volunteer, taking part in an earthquake simulation to test her deployment capabilities together with geospatial volunteers Fiona Hardie and Claudia Offner. Photo: Daniel Soares

Data projects supporting disaster response 

“At the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (World Bank), I specialise in developing tools for assessing the impacts of natural disasters in various settings. Having joined MapAction I’ve found that it complements this work as it offers me the opportunity to apply my expertise in a different context, where I can contribute both to long-term planning and to direct emergency response.”

Nadia Leonova, MapAction data science volunteer

In the last 18 months our volunteers have done some impressive work, not only on tool development, but on missions leading workshops, as well as supporting our GIS team with disaster response. Below are some examples of tools and projects we’ve been working on.

Rapid flood mapping

The goal of our rapid flood mapping from satellite imagery is to create a tool that is able to estimate flood extents during emergencies using radar satellite imagery. The tool was created by two of our data science volunteers, with Cate Seale developing a Python package that contains all the necessary methods whilst Piet Gerrits worked on equipping the tool with a simple graphical interface. The approach is based on a UN SPIDER tutorial, built using Google Earth Engine. The entire code is naturally open-source and available on GitHUB (GitHub – mapaction/flood-mapping-tool).

Former volunteer and current MapAction Head of Data Science Daniel Soares (left) during the MapAction response to the 2022 Kinshasa floods (DRC) together with an UNDAC team member and a local expert. Photo: MapAction.

READ MORE: MapAction team deploys to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to support UN response to floods 

In 2021, MapAction engaged in a collaboration with HeiGIT (Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology): the final goal of this work is to produce tools and workflows that can constitute a resource for MapAction’s deployed or remote team members during emergency response. Our first joint project focused on assessing OpenStreetMap data quality. We’re now working to integrate these quality checks into our internal data pipeline.

READ ALSO: MapAction and HeiGIT partner to further geoinformation innovation

Proximity Tool

As part of the same collaboration with HeiGIT, we’re currently developing a Proximity Tool in order to automate road network analysis and identify remote communities and those potentially cut off during an emergency. This tool can also be used for health accessibility analysis (assessing populations not covered by health facilities within a given road distance).

First prototype of the MapAction Proximity Tool developed in collaboration with HeiGIT’s open route service.

Anticipatory action

MapAction substantially increased its anticipatory action focus in 2023. Our new anticipatory action programme kicked-off in July with GFFO funding new work on several projects geared at enhancing geospatial information management for anticipatory action decision makers. This programme will mainly focus on three areas: enabling adoption by partners through stakeholder landscaping and information management projects (ongoing work with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation); implementation of subnational risk models and working around building sustainability and localisation with partners.

READ ALSO: Updates: The Anticipation Hub, The 11th Global Dialogue Platform on Anticipatory Action

The Data Science Lab is actively mainstreaming anticipatory action into its pipeline for the future. We have already started working on building an INFORM Subnational Risk Index for the Kingdom of Eswatini while scoping support for other countries. Our target is to work on four new INFORM subnational models, while updating eight more, over the next two years. We are also currently scoping and planning new projects in partnership with the UN’s Centre for Humanitarian Data around data solutions for anticipatory action. Stay tuned for more details in 2024.

Data science member Piet Gerrits and MapAction Data Visualiser Rob Baker attend an INFORM Subnational Risk training in Italy together with MapAction geospatial volunteer Leon Baruah in September 2023 ( all MapAction members are in blue t-shirts).

Want to be part of the team?

Our 2023 volunteer recruitment process is now closed but a new one will open in 2024 with opportunities for data scientists, data visualisers, data engineers, software developers and geospatial specialists.

Join our MapAction Humanitarian Data Volunteers group on LinkedIn to receive the latest updates re: recruitment or follow MapAction on Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.

READ MORE: MapAction looking for volunteers to unlock information management barriers in humanitarian sector

MapAction’s work in geospatial is funded by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO), UNICEF, Calleva Foundation and other foundations, private individuals and companies. Learn more here.

Updates: The Anticipation Hub, The 11th Global Dialogue Platform on Anticipatory Action

Welcome to the first post in a new blog series on anticipatory action. The series will explore MapAction’s work to strengthen readiness and preparedness worldwide. We’ll kick off with a few facts and definitions, as well as a review of some of the key sessions and agenda points from the The Anticipation Hub: The 11th Global Dialogue Platform on Anticipatory Action, which is currently underway in Germany’s capital Berlin. This blog is part of an anticipatory action programme by MapAction kindly supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Insurance Development Forum.

What does this blog cover?

  • Summaries, notes, images, cartoons and observations from the The 11th Global Dialogue Platform on Anticipatory Action
  • Anticipatory action: definition, components, facts and overview
  • Examples of MapAction’s work in anticipatory action

The 11th Global Dialogue Platform on Anticipatory Action is currently live from Berlin! Register here to watch it. Listen in as disaster management experts from across the world discuss the latest vanguard thinking on how to mitigate climate change and weather-related hazards.

October 12th. 09:10 UTC

Delegates share their learnings while taking hits at a piñata!

October 12th. 07:50 UTC

Guten Morgen. Here are some highlights to look forward to today, the final day of the The 11th Global Dialogue Platform on Anticipatory Action taking place in Berlin.

October 12th. 07:30 UTC

The Berlin Festival of Lights, which sees important landmarks in the German capital illuminated in technicolour, is also underway in Germany’s capital.

October 11th. 15:05 UTC

Heading into the final Day Two sessions now. With that, we’ll be wrapping up our Anticipation Hub blog today. We will add brief summaries and the odd pic tomorrow.

We’ll leave you with the excellent selection of anticipatory action cartoons to wind down with. Bis Morgen!

October 11th. 13:25 UTC

The Data Guardian Game for anticipatory action: a workshop on availability of data in anticipatory action.

“A useful tool to help participants grasp the significance of data in the decision-making process.”

Luke Caley from IFRC outlines the organisation’s database “with 100 years of disasters to learn from”.

“Global data needs to be verified on the ground”. Now the game begins.

Participants are divided into four groups, assuming the roles of government decision-makers. Each group is tasked with investing in various governmental agencies to enhance their data collection and analysis capabilities.

In the second stage of the game, a flood scenario is introduced, prompting participants to gather information exclusively from the agencies in which they had initially invested; they are only permitted to access data and information from these specific agencies. Armed with this information, the groups then proceeded to make crucial judgments regarding the activation of an early action protocol.

MapAction and anticipatory action

MapAction’s work in anticipatory action is kindly supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Insurance Development Forum, as well as other individual and institutional donors. Our work in anticipatory action takes on different shapes and forms from territory to territory and is correlated to disaster risk reduction initiatives worldwide. The list below is non-exhaustive and is designed to give a brief overview of MapAction anticipatory humanitarian action work.

In Kenya we work with Oxfam and the Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) Humanitarian Network to forecast and map the potential impacts of drought on northern counties. “The Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL), in Kenya cover close to 80% of the land and are home to approximately 36% of the country’s population, 70% of the national livestock and 90% of the wildlife,” states ASAL’s website. “The residents of the ASALs earn their living through a mix of pastoralism and agriculture. However, pastoralism is the main source of livelihood contributing to 13% to the GDP of Kenya and further plays a vital role in both the economic and socio-cultural development of the resident communities.” Recent droughts over the last five years have left CSOs and the communities they work with in the northern Kenyan counties of Isiolo, Kwale, Marsabit, Nyeri, Kitui and Taita Taveta more vulnerable. MapAction’s aim with this work is to increase the visibility of the work CSOs are doing in humanitarian action and to help them leverage their forecasts to release early funding and create resilience against future hazards for local residents. MapAction’s support focused on mapping at county and even ward-level, a more localised administrative unit, ensuring CSOs can integrate GIS and IM into their disaster management tools .

Start Network is another key partner for MapAction. In the last few months alone, MapAction volunteers have delivered resilience-building seminars and events for local disaster managers in Nepal, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Senegal and Madagascar.

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

Some of the most important work MapAction does under the umbrella of anticipatory action is through the INFORM network, the “multi-stakeholder forum for developing shared, quantitative analysis relevant to humanitarian crises and disasters.” MapAction works with several national and subnational disaster management agencies worldwide through this framework, including ongoing projects to build or upgrade national disaster models in Eswatini and Niger.

October 11th. 13:10 UTC/15:10 CEST: MapAction Chair of Trustees Nick Moody is talking next on a panel in his role as coordinator of the Global Risk Modelling Alliance (GRMA). Nick shared his thoughts briefly on MapAction’s role through the prism of anticipatory action when we caught up with him in Berlin.

“There is evidence here of real momentum towards managing risk, instead of constantly being wrong-footed by extreme events when they happen. Baseline risk assessment – necessary for pre-arranging crisis finance – is constantly improving, and forecasting is good enough to make operational decisions ahead of the impact of an imminent flood, cyclone or drought. MapAction is helping to drive this momentum, particularly in working side by side with local CSOs and NGOs in developing these critical new capabilities.”

Chair of Trustees at MapAction Nick Moody

The Global Shield and its relevance to anticipatory action

The Global Shield against Climate Risk is a new initiative to avert, minimize and address climate-related losses and damages by scaling up climate and disaster-risk financing instruments, coupled with social protection mechanisms and early warning systems. The initiative was launched at last year’s UN Climate Conference, building on a joint effort by the G7 and the Vulnerable 20 Group (V20). 

This workshop will introduce the aims and structure of the Global Shield, including how the Global Shield Solutions Platform and the Global Shield Financing Facility can both provide support for climate- and disaster-risk financing instruments, including anticipatory action approaches; it will also explore the role of the anticipatory action community. 

Register for or watch the workshop here. Starts at: 13.15 UTC/15:15 CEST.

Moderators

  • Jonathan Auer, Junior Advisor, Global Shield Secretariat
  • Lea Sarah Kulick, Advisor, Secretariat of the Global Shield against Climate Risks

Speaker

  • Lorraine Njue, Head of Actuarial, ARC Ltd
  • Nick Moody, Cooordinator, Global Risk Modelling Alliance (GRMA)
  • Kaavya Ashok Krishna, Senior Financial Sector Specialist, World Bank / Global Shield Financing Facility
  • Annette Detken , Head of the Global Shield Solution Platform , Frankfurt School of Finance & Management
  • Kip Koskei , Director of Strategic Partnerships , Insurance Development Forum
  • Emily Montier, Consultant, World Bank

New countries can apply for support from the Global Shield at CoP28.

Register here to join virtually.

October 11th. 11:00 UTC

Break in plenary session at the #GlobalDP. Back this afternoon. Here are some other things to think about during the break. We’ll be back to wrap things up this afternoon.

  1. Volunteer with MapAction to work on anticipatory action projects!

A lot of the work MapAction does in anticipatory action (with the Start Network and INFORM) involves our volunteer cohort of 70+ GIS and IM specialists. We are currently recruiting for six new exciting volunteer positions. Read on here to find out more about volunteering with MapAction.

Find out more about the volunteer community of practice at MapAction here.

  • 2. Check out this UN video on role of data in AI in building resilience

INTERESTING RESOURCE (from the UN): Reimagining Tomorrow: Breakthrough in Data and AI for a More Resilient World

“Step into the future with the UN-hosted Complex Risk Analytics Fund, the Early Warnings for All initiative and Gzero Media at the 78th United Nations (UN) General Assembly. As we navigate an era of multifaceted global crises – amplified by climate change – recent breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI), technologies, and data ecosystems create transformative opportunities to tackle these challenges. Together with global leaders and change-makers, we envisage a world where global partners unlock the potential of data, analytics, and AI to better anticipate crises and pave the way for a more sustainable and resilient future.”

October 10th. 15:30 UTC

A cartoon to wrap things up for today. More updates tomorrow.

“And if there’s ever a question of whose responsibility something is, simply CC everyone.”

Day 1 wraps up with lightning talks, in which a CSO leader and an academic explore how El Niño is affecting lives, health, food security, violence and displacement of children and adolescents.

With:

  • Wendy Emilia Vera García, Leader, Movimiento Por Ser Niña (‘Because I am a Girl’ movement) 
  • Liz Stephens, Science Lead / Professor of Climate Risks and Resilience, Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and University of Reading

Anticipatory action (AA) is a humanitarian term. We will use the Red Cross definition below:

“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. Anticipatory actions should not be a substitute for longer-term investment in risk reduction and should aim to strengthen people’s capacity to manage risks.”

World Disaster Report 2020, IFRC

The language of AA

The following are not synonymous with anticipatory action but are closely interconnected terms: early action, early warning, disaster risk reduction, future preparedness, disaster resilience, forecast-based action, forecast-based finance.

Why is anticipatory action necessary?

  • In the last 10 years… 410,000 people have been killed by extreme weather and climate-related events, most by heatwaves and storms. (World Disaster Report 2020)
  • In the last 10 years… 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
  • 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 international financial institution. 
What can we learn from acrobats in anticipatory action? Trust, practice, learning from mistakes. Photo: MapAction.

Anticipatory action networks

MapAction volunteers attended training with INFORM in Italy in September 2023. MapAction will be working with several national disaster management agencies to build new disaster models or to update their current ones within the INFORM framework. Goal? Greater resilience. Photo: Leon Baruah.

MapAction is part of the following anticipatory action frameworks and networks:

  • INFORM: INFORM is 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 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.

“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: 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. Our programmes allow members to deliver humanitarian action around the world.

Anticipatory action allows communities exposed to hazards, as well as disaster managers, to be more prepared and forecast future hazards. It is a framework for disaster risk reduction and for triggering early release of funds to mitigate the effects of hazards.

These four phases are regularly used components within an anticipatory action plan.

  1. TRIGGERS: Defines when and where early action will be implemented.
  2. EARLY ACTIONS: Defines what early actions will be taken to reduce the impact
  3. FINANCING MECHANISM: a pre-agreed financing mechanism
  4. DELIVERY: Capacity to implement actions as planned

Images from the Anticipation Hub in Berlin, where a team of MapAction anticipatory action specialists – project managers, data scientists, software engineers – are in attendance. Photo: MapAction.

There are also three agreed parameters for anticipatory action:

What? The action is taken to reduce or prevent the crisis impact

When? The action is taken ahead of the hazard impact or before the impacts of the shock fully unfold (not to be confused with early response) 

How? The decision to act is taken on a forecast or a collaborative analysis