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FAO is strengthening Southern Africa’s capacity to anticipate risks and act early

FAO is strengthening Southern Africa’s capacity to anticipate risks and act early

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched the first regional training on anticipatory action for member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to act early before disaster events.

Southern Africa is frequently impacted by a range of hazards and disasters resulting in increasing levels of acute food insecurity and malnutrition.

The online course on ‘Developing an Anticipatory Action System’ will guide countries through the process of developing an Anticipatory Action System in the context of agriculture and food security. The first roll out engaged participants from Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. The course is running over a six-week period from 7 April to 20 May 2021, and will train over 35 participants from government institutions and various partner agencies.

“Waiting for the hazard to occur and acting after its impact is no longer an option, and more emphasis needs to be place on anticipating risks and acting early. Although this is a fairly new concept, FAO is pioneering an integrated approach to anticipatory action through capacity building and establishing of Anticipatory Action Systems in the region, starting with high priority countries. Southern Africa is the first region to roll out this training programme,” said Patrice Talla, FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for Southern Africa in his opening remarks for the webinar attended by key stakeholders.

The course is comprised of e-learning and practical components and use diverse learning modalities to encourage teamwork, group participation, and knowledge sharing. The theoretical component is based on FAO e-learning course that takes participants through the five steps on how to develop an anticipatory action System, while the practical component includes the development of an Anticipatory Action strategy which will be produced by each country team.

What is Anticipatory Action and why is it important?

Anticipatory Actions are short term interventions that are implemented in a definite timeframe between an early warning trigger and the peak of a hazard, with the scope of mitigating/and or preventing its impact on lives and livelihoods. An Anticipatory Action System is a set of provisions to link early warning to Anticipatory Action.

Anticipatory Action (AA) can help prevent widespread loss of life, large-scale damage to agriculture and related assets, and reduce risk among communities so that they can recover easier and earlier after a disaster.

There is a great need to invest in anticipatory action, instead of waiting for the next crisis to hit and opting for reactive approaches.

This regional training is conducted under the project ‘Scaling-up Early Warning Early Action (EWEA) for agriculture and food security’ financially supported by the Federal Government of Germany.

Investing in anticipatory action to prevent impact of hazards and disasters. (©FAO/P. Tobias)

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