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Anticipatory action and disaster risk finance: Guiding the setting of humanitarian targets

Research reports

Written by Lena Nur, Emily Montier, Sarah Klassen

Research reports

This report contributes to the evidence base for scaling up anticipatory action and pre-arranged disaster risk finance. It builds on our previous research conducted in 2019 that estimated that over half of crises are somewhat predictable and offers a more nuanced understanding of what can be anticipated, and to which degree, within today’s humanitarian caseload. It offers an analysis of the opportunities within the humanitarian caseload to take action ahead of identified crises and provides recommendations for donors and policy-makers to guide the setting of humanitarian targets for anticipatory action.

The challenge for the humanitarian community is to harness the science and technology that exists to allow us to predict and prepare ahead of escalating crisis risks, whilst also retaining the capacities to respond to highly complex, interconnected and/or unprecedented events. This paper intends to provide a clearer framework for understanding what can be anticipated, and to what degree.

The analysis in the report shows that there is significant opportunity within the humanitarian caseload to take advantage of the existing operational risk information systems as well as the wider potential for crisis risks not yet served by current operational systems. Additionally, the report recognises that there are limits to the degree that crises can be predicted and funding can be pre-arranged. This reinforces the need for anticipatory action and disaster risk financing measures to be complemented by other response mechanisms during and after a crisis situation and for responses to be tailored to individual crises and contexts.

  • Anticipatory action and disaster risk finance: Guiding the setting of humanitarian targets

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