Stakeholder Consultation Workshop Report: Linking Early Warning to Early Action in Somalia

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The onset of conflicts or disasters in Somalia often mean death or displacement for vulnerable populations. Years of suffering for such populations have always driven the need for early warning/trigger systems to protect and improve the coping capacities of affected persons and enable early response by humanitarian actors. The link between early warning and early action however remains weak thus limiting impact and holistic recovery.

Routine tracking of hazards and disasters by early warning systems remain relevant in ensuring humanitarian actors in Somalia are able to take early action and mitigate their impact on vulnerable populations. The Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FNSAU), a multi-donor project managed by FAO, plays a key role in monitoring risk elements such as food security, health and nutrition, among other indicators that may be affected during disasters in Somalia.

This report is the final yield of discussions held on linking early warning to early action in Somalia led by the FNSAU, FAO, Oxfam and Building Resilient Communities in Somalia Consortium (BRCiS) in consultation with government authorities and other stakeholders present. The report highlights how different humanitarian actors translate early warning into early action across different shocks and stresses and the associated challenges. Opportunities to address the challenges have been discussed in detail to ensure an adequate and early response by the different stakeholders.

The report captures discussions on the FSNAU Early Warning-Early Action (EWEA) Dashboard and its potential to trigger early action in Somalia, building on the recommendations and insights from the Oxfam review (October 2017). Related to this, the discussions focused on recommendations for the refinement of the dashboard such as the review of the indicators and the design. The discussions also focused on a more clear accountability framework for early action to reinforce the mechanism by which action is taken when triggers are reached.

The key conclusion of the Workshop was that the FSNAU Dashboard should have the potential to trigger early action. In order to do so, the data and indicators which make up the FSNAU dashboard need to be reviewed and designed into seasonality based triggers to enable the release of early warning statements at critical points during the year. This way, the FSNAU will be able to deliver objective, evidence based ‘triggers’ for early action based on the best available data when the situation is deemed abnormal and/or is expected to worsen.

In terms of the Early Action Protocol, the Workshop concluded that for FSNAU to be an effective early action trigger mechanism, the Accountability Framework needs to be reinforced through the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group (ICCG)-led design of an Early Action Protocol for Somalia which would be tied to the FSNAU early warning triggers. The protocol will represent to all intents and purposes a commitment to initiate early action in relation to Early Warning triggers acceptable to all humanitarian agencies in Somalia.

Finally, the report concludes with a way forward outlining the next steps and timelines, including the establishment of two Technical Working Groups for the revision of the Dashboard (led by FSNAU) and the design of the EA Protocol (ICCG). A final validation workshop is proposed for November 2018 which will bring together the two work streams into a common Early Warning Early Action framework for Somalia.