Imagine if we had forecast information that a flood disaster was likely to strike a particular location and we could anticipate the rain coming but were unable to do anything in that small window of opportunity. It would make sense if we were able to take early action and help vulnerable communities prepare before a disaster event based upon the available forecast information. Forecast based Financing (FbF) is a niche concept in the humanitarian sector that allows us to take actions based upon the best science ahead of time when it is not too late to respond.
FbF combines disaster management and climate research where scientific weather forecasts are used to anticipate possible impacts in high risk areas and predefined plans automatically mobilizes resources before a disaster event.
Current preparedness plans are often normative and based upon the average level of risks though there is a huge potential to scale up humanitarian actions when science indicates the increased level of risks regarding impending hazards. So far the policy directives have increasingly spurred investment in improving preparedness, enhancing existing early warning systems and response initiatives. But it has clearly overlooked much needed linkages between early warning and early actions for improved preparedness and response.
FbF triggers early action based on forecasts, bridging the gaps between preparedness, disaster risk reduction and emergency response. Likewise, FbF also supports the Sendai Framework’s emphasis on the paradigm shift towards risk management and mobilizing investments to avoid new risks.
Practical Action Consulting (PAC) is currently providing Technical Assistance (TA) to the World Food Programme (WFP) Nepal in reviewing climate risks and flood early warning systems of Dang, Banke, Bardiya, Surkhet, Kailali and Kanchanpur districts in Western Nepal. The engagement will seek to develop dynamic Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) where thresholds triggers flood preparedness actions in the aforementioned districts.
With contributions from Madhab Uprety – DRR Consultant at PAC