‘Anticipatory action’ (AA) encompasses a set of planned and pre-financed measures taken when a disaster is imminent, prior to a shock or before acute impacts are felt. This paper argues that AA should not be a substitute for longer-term investment and action to reduce vulnerability and should strengthen people’s capacity to manage risks effectively and adapt to climate change.
- AA should be seen as an integral component of disaster risk management, adaptation and resilience. This will require a better understanding of how AA relates to existing government structures, policies and programmes.
- A frank discussion is needed between governments and international aid agencies on the utility of AA; the specific problems that it can help to overcome; and where other types of external support would be more effective.
- AA will not reduce disaster impacts in the long run without steps to address the power structures and rent-seeking practices blocking progress on reducing risks.
- Critically, AA should not be a substitute for investment and action to reduce vulnerability and strengthen people’s capacity to manage risks – it should not crowd out public investment in adaptation, risk reduction and preparedness.
The acknowledgements section of this briefing note has been updated.