Kenya

Anticipatory Risk Management: Defining windows of opportunity based on impact calendar - The Kenyan Context

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Abstract

Disasters such as drought and floods cause great impacts to the vulnerable communities especially those in arid and semi-arid areas. In Kenya, 2010/2011 and 2016/2017 are the most recent years that drought was experienced. However, the 2010/2011 drought event was the worst recorded in Kenya. This event impacted many sectors and livelihoods leading to; livestock deaths, acute food shortages and increasing pastoralist migration due to depleting pasture and water resources. These impacts were felt despite climate forecasts being issued in advance indicating that a drier than usual season was expected. The impacts caused by the recurrent climate related disasters, have led to a gradual shift in humanitarian disaster management with organisations opting for anticipatory management. Some of the anticipatory management approaches that have been adopted include; Forecast-based Action (FbA), Early Warning Early Action (EWEA) and Forecast-based Finance (FbF). However, the implementation of these approaches has majorly focused on rapid onset disasters such as floods and snowfall and there is an increasing demand for guidance on how to implement this for slow onset disasters such as drought. Implementing anticipatory management for slow onset disasters especially droughts has been difficult for various reasons such as; it is not clear what the relationship of the hazard and impacts is, at what point anticipatory actions should be implemented and what forecasts should be used to trigger anticipatory action. To contribute to the knowledge on anticipatory management for drought, this paper presents the use of drought impact calendar and existing climate and weather forecasts to define windows of opportunity for implementing drought anticipatory actions in the Kenyan context. The multi-stakeholder development of a comprehensive drought impact calendar coupled with climate forecast releases offers an opportunity to understand at what point impacts of drought are felt and also understand the existing windows of opportunity for implementing anticipatory early actions.