Forecast-based Action


Skilful forecasts of an imminent disaster can allow the prevention of disaster effects and preparation for the impacts of disaster for many of the world’s most vulnerable groups and individuals. However, while forecasts are becoming increasingly available, humanitarians regularly fail to implement such Forecast-based Action. This report demonstrates the interdisciplinary challenges in moving towards robust frameworks for Forecast-based Action (FbA) for different humanitarian actors. This is a particularly critical strategy in light of changing risks worldwide, and research investments are needed to provide information, methods, and guidance for the successful establishment of such systems.

The Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre (RCCC) is developing a novel framework for Forecast-based Action, called Forecast-based Financing (FbF). It addresses the interdisciplinary challenges by developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be defined in advance of a forecast, and activated when a forecast exceeding a pre-specified risk level is issued.

The aim of this report was to establish research priorities for informing the development of frameworks for Forecast-based Action, basing these on the considerations, successes, and challenges faced in the FbF pilot studies. While the FbF concept is applicable to any predictable hazards where loss-avoiding action is possible, this report focuses primarily on floods, mirroring the focus of the FbF pilot studies and acknowledging that floods are the most common natural disaster, accounting for 43% of all recorded events and affecting nearly 2.5 billion people between 1994 and 2013. Given the disproportionate impact of natural hazards in lower-income countries, and the reported success of flood early warning systems elsewhere, improving the capacity of communities, nations and humanitarian organisations to utilise skilful flood early warnings systems can have considerable impact.


Stephens, E.; Coughlan de Perez, E.; Kruczkiewicz, A.; Boyd, E.; Suarez, P. Forecast-based Action. University of Reading, Reading, UK (2015) 41 pp.

Published 1 January 2015