Changing the way we manage disasters: linking anticipatory action and social protection to protect agricultural livelihoods from shocks in Asia

Humanitarian Talks

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Extreme weather events, increasing in frequency and intensity due to climate change, as well as expanding conflict are driving consistent and unsustainable increases in humanitarian needs, with acute hunger reaching a five-year high in 2020. More than 2.5 billion small-holder farmers, herders and small-scale fishers - who produce about 80 percent of the world’s food - are among the most vulnerable to shocks. Evidence, however, shows that acting before a forecast shock to protect their agricultural livelihoods can avoid disaster losses valued at up to seven times the initial investment. A strategic shift from responding to recurrent and predictable hazards to anticipating their impacts has the potential to break the cycle of growing dependence on humanitarian assistance and support resilience efforts. That is the guiding principle of Anticipatory Action (AA), a kind of protective programming that uses a humanitarian and resilience infrastructure to protect development gains and investments. A growing number of stakeholders and national governments around the world are now using this approach to shield people from climate- and human-induced hazards. Linking AA to national social protection systems (NSPS) can also be an effective way to strengthen coordination between humanitarian actors and national governments and make NSPS more shock-responsive. Evermore it is seen as a way to integrate the anticipatory approach into national policies, bridge the Humanitarian Development Peace (HDP) divide, and promote a more efficient, effective and sustainable way of managing shocks.