Working Group on Locally Led Anticipatory Action

By Victoria Wachira
5 March 2024


In the face of increasing humanitarian crises globally, the need for locally led approaches to anticipatory action is more critical than ever. Recognising the importance of communities and local actors at the forefront of risk, a Working Group on Locally Led Anticipatory Action has been formed within The Anticipation Hub to bolster their pivotal role in decision-making ahead of predicted hazards, with the aim to prevent or reduce impacts.

Our contribution to the initiative

GNDR, as a member of The Anticipation Hub and through our Local Leadership for Global Impact project with DKH, and implementing members SAF-FJKM (Madagascar), CEDES (Mozambique), and CARD (Malawi), GNDR is pleased to have contributed to the start-up of this group – demonstrating that locally led anticipatory action is not only possible, but also effective.

Locally led anticipatory action explained

Anticipatory action refers to actions taken to reduce the humanitarian impacts of a forecast hazard before it occurs, or before its most acute impacts are felt. The decision to act is based on a forecast, or collective risk analysis, of when, where and how the event will unfold (IFRC 2020). Communities and local actors on the front lines of disasters and crises, and those most vulnerable to their impacts can take charge of their destiny when anticipatory action is locally led. At its core, this process involves:

  • Autonomous anticipatory action: local communities and actors acting independently and are not reliant on external support
  • Local action: taking place within a self-defined or administratively defined community, or collection of communities
  • Local leaders: Working through local government structures and local actors with a permanent presence in the area, as well as community-based organisations, NGOs and community groups
  • Flexible financing: Advocating for pre-agreed financing for locally led early actions to mitigate the impact of forecastable events

This approach places those most affected by disasters at the heart of decision-making, ensuring their active involvement in:

  • Providing indigenous knowledge for enhanced early warning systems
  • Offering localised data for more nuanced risk and vulnerability assessments
  • Facilitating feedback on forecasting models and intervention effectiveness
  • Mobilising local structures swiftly
In the photo, Billal Hossain from Bangladesh is seen collecting the bricks from his flooded house.
Courtesy: Moniruzzaman Sazal/ Climate Visuals Countdown

Integral role in disaster preparedness and resilience

Evidence shows the effectiveness of anticipatory action, seen in 12% more evacuations through cash transfers, a 12% health improvement among beneficiaries*, and a 21% reduction in loss and damage with early action. Locally led anticipatory action is instrumental in safeguarding lives, livelihoods, and assets, fortifying risk-informed development, and instigating timely interventions in the face of forecasted risks.

The Working Group: 

This working group consists of individuals passionate about contributing ideas towards best practices for advancing and scaling up locally led anticipatory action. Participation is voluntary and open to all.

Aims and Objectives:

  1. Facilitate collaboration: Provide a platform for local actors to exchange ideas on achieving locally led anticipatory action
  2. Guidance materials: Generate and reference materials and tools for implementing and scaling out this approach
  3. Strengthen evidence base: Build a robust evidence base to advocate for scaling up locally led anticipatory action

Meet the Co-Chairs

Julia Burakowski is currently leading the organisation of this working group. For more information on how to get involved, reach out to her at

Join the Working Group

Membership is open to organisations working on or advocating for locally led anticipatory action, or those with a strong ambition to do so. Have a look at the the group’s terms of reference to explore the criteria for joining.

Additional resource

We recently published the Locally Led Anticipatory Guide and Toolkit complete with 14 downloadable resources to support civil society organisations in engaging with communities, and collaborating with mandated, technical and donor agencies to localise and scale up early warning and early action.

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