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Why Uganda Must Adopt Anticipatory Action to Combat Natural Disasters :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Why Uganda Must Adopt Anticipatory Action to Combat Natural Disasters

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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) defines A-A as proactive measures taken to mitigate the humanitarian impacts of forecast hazards before they occur or before their most severe effects are felt.
27 May 2024 15:10
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Utilizing the Anticipatory Action (A-A) approach to address natural disasters has emerged as a cost-effective and efficient strategy for addressing this pressing human challenge. Its affordability renders it viable for Uganda, which often grapples with insufficient disaster response budgets.   

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) defines A-A as proactive measures taken to mitigate the humanitarian impacts of forecast hazards before they occur or before their most severe effects are felt. This involves making decisions based on forecasts or collective risk analyses to anticipate when, where, and how an event will unfold.   

To bolster the implementation of this approach, Uganda recently convened its second national stakeholders’ dialogue on A-A. During this gathering, Disaster Preparedness Minister Hillary Onek highlighted Uganda's initial steps in the A-A journey, citing the establishment of the country’s first hazard maps by his ministry.   

“This conference is definitely very relevant because anticipatory action must be taken, and in my ministry, we have tried. About six or seven years ago, we developed hazard maps that show exactly what kind of disaster can happen in what part of the country, depending on the climate conditions. The maps are available, and everyone should have them because they are an anticipatory kind of document. From that, we can now prepare our people,” he said.   

Minister Onek emphasized the importance of preparation in disaster management, stressing that proactive measures are more cost-effective than reactive responses. He disclosed that Uganda has incurred substantial losses in recent years, amounting to an estimated 1.4 trillion Shillings, underscoring the need for anticipatory action to mitigate such losses.   

Given the current reliance on predictions and early warnings for disaster response, Minister Onek emphasized the significance of anticipatory actions in saving lives and livelihoods. He lamented the inadequate funding for disaster response in Uganda due to the absence of a dedicated budget. 

//Cue in: “The contingency fund…

Cue out: …budget like contingency.”//   

According to information from IFRC, humanitarian organizations globally are increasingly adopting A-A as a proactive strategy to minimize the impacts of disasters. This innovative approach involves preemptive measures based on forecasts or predictive analyses, enabling intervention before disasters escalate. Key components of A-A include predefined actions by stakeholders, trigger thresholds for funding release, and coordinated financing arrangements. 

Organizations such as the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Start Network, World Food Programme (WFP), and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) are championing and implementing A-A initiatives worldwide.  

While A-A has demonstrated effectiveness, challenges persist in scaling it up for comprehensive disaster risk management. Policy reforms and concerted efforts are needed to address these challenges. The A-A Task Force has proposed policy recommendations to facilitate wider adoption, including expanding flexible financing mechanisms and investing in early warning systems.  

As the humanitarian sector evolves, the case for A-A becomes increasingly compelling. By embracing this proactive approach, organizations can save lives, build resilience, and safeguard developmental gains, ultimately creating a more effective and responsive humanitarian system.