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Tanner, Thomas, Gray, Bill, Guigma, Kiswendsida, Iqbal, Jafar, Levine, Simon, MacLeod, David, Nahar, Khairun, Rejve, Kaiser and Cabot Venton, Courtenay (2019) Scaling up early action: Lessons, challenges and future potential in Bangladesh. London: Overseas Development Institute, Working paper 547.

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‘Forecast-based early action’ (FbA) is emerging among humanitarian and disaster risk management practitioners as an approach that can reduce the impact of shocks on vulnerable people and their livelihoods, improve the effectiveness of emergency preparedness, response and recovery efforts, and reduce the humanitarian burden. • This paper investigates the technical, economic and institutional challenges to scaling up FbA in Bangladesh. Taking a political economy approach it examines the structures and policies around disaster management in the country, options for financing, and the forecasting infrastructure and dissemination systems. • The concept of FbA is not new to Bangladesh but triggers for action are often unclear. The Cyclone Preparedness Programme has long used forecasts to trigger early warning, preparedness and evacuation. However, in most other cases triggers for action are determined more subjectively. • The risk of ‘acting in vain’ is a major perceived barrier to scaling up FbA. Taking early action when forecasts prove inaccurate has potential implications for accountability and perceived misallocation of limited resources. But if targeted at poor groups, actions could anyway help to enhance resilience. • Institutional incentives and finance are still skewed towards relief. Post-disaster response is seen as more visible and defensible, forming a barrier to early actions. Scaling up of FbA could help to reform prevailing cliental biases in relief by making targeting and delivery of aid more transparent, equitable and needs-based. • Value for money? Stakeholders are demanding for better evidence on the (cost)-effectiveness of FbA approaches. Pilots in Bangladesh suggest improved food security, reduced lending costs and lower anxiety/depression among those taking early action before disasters. • Forecasting is limited but has future potential. Tidal influence makes it difficult to forecast flooding in the southern and coastal zones, while the inaccuracy of cyclone forecasting leaves a limited window for early actions. Riverbank erosion and flash flood forecasts have future potential, along with efforts to improve impact-based forecasting.

Item Type: Monographs and Working Papers (Working Paper)
Keywords: climate change, disaster management, finance, forecasting
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
Departments and Subunits > Interdisciplinary Studies > Centre for Development, Environment and Policy
Copyright Statement: Readers are encouraged to reproduce material for their own publications, as long as they are not being sold commercially. ODI requests due acknowledgement and a copy of the publication. For online use, we ask readers to link to the original resource on the ODI website. The views presented in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of ODI or our partners. This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2022 18:34
Funders: Other

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