From Early Warning to Early Action
There is evidence that the intensity and frequency of climate-driven natural disasters and conflicts is increasing. Natural disasters now occur nearly five times as often compared to 40 years ago.
The impact on local economies, on lives and livelihoods, has similarly grown. In some of the worst-hit places, it can seem unrelenting. One crisis will follow another, every time stripping away at the limited assets of poor and vulnerable people, robbing them of their self-reliance and wounding their humanity and dignity.
Globally, expanding needs, competing priorities and limited resources mean that new tools are essential to make interventions as wise and effective as possible, to ensure that the impacts of crises are limited before they can grow into even more costly humanitarian disasters.
Timely support also protects and empowers people the most, giving them the confidence to keep going or to resume their livelihoods. Investing in early action means FAO can help shelter longer-term development gains and increase resilience.
Working with national governments and humanitarian, development and scientific partners, FAO’s Early Warning Early Action approach monitors risk information systems and translates warnings into anticipatory actions.
Every quarter, FAO’s Early Warning Early Action report on food security and agriculture ranks risks by their likelihood and potential impact and identifies the best interventions. Then, FAO’s Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities (SFERA), can release money from its early action window. The funds back tailored plans which are rapidly put into place, drawing on FAO’s greatest asset: its technical knowledge and expertise in supporting rural livelihoods.
Early actions are varied and flexible, ranging from cash transfers for fishing communities to safely store their nets ahead of an impending cyclone, to livestock treatments for herders as a drought intensifies, to flood defences before a severe rainy season to protect crops.
This study analyses the outcomes of targeted early actions in Mongolia during the winter of 2017 to 2018, triggered by warnings that extreme weather posed a major risk to vulnerable livestock herders. It evaluates their effectiveness and quantifies the benefits of acting early.