Anticipatory Pillar of the DREF

In the face of rising global challenges, simply responding to crises is no longer enough. The Anticipatory Pillar of the Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) is our dedicated funding mechanism that enables Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to take early action before disasters strike.

The Anticipatory Pillar is a fast, reliable and efficient way of getting money to Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in anticipation of disasters. It helps them save lives and reduce, or even prevent, the damage and losses caused by disasters on communities.

It uses a forecast-based financing approach. Based on meteorological forecasts and risk analysis, we agree funding to National Societies for early action in advance of a predicted hazard. Money is then released automatically when pre-defined forecast thresholds or ‘triggers’ are met.

How it works

Australian Red Cross staff look at a map of Victoria to determine where people may need to be evacuated from due to the risk of bushfires

Defining triggers

The DREF's Anticipatory Pillar uses science and research to define triggers for funding based on: detailed risk analysis of natural hazards; assessments of the impacts of previous disasters; vulnerability data; and weather forecasts.

A volunteer with Eswatini Red Cross plans a cash distribution for over 2000 people in March 2020

Selection of actions

National Societies define in advance the actions they will take in response to these different triggers. Actions are outlined in formal plans, either an Early Action Protocol or a Simplified Early Action Protocol (see below). This plan helps them to be prepared and act quickly to reduce the humanitarian impacts of an event.

Bangladesh Red Crescent Society volunteers in Jamalpur distribute cash payments to communities in advance of predicted floods based on forecast information to help them cope and minimise any impact on their lives and livelihoods

Financing mechanism

The Anticipatory Pillar automatically releases funding when a trigger occurs. This money enables National Societies to take action quickly in advance of the disaster’s impact.

Watch: Anticipatory Pillar of the DREF

Early Action Protocols (EAPs) and Simplified Early Action Protocols

Early Action Protocols are formal plans produced by National Societies. They outline the early actions that will be taken when a specific hazard is forecasted to impact communities.

The Early Action Protocol provides preapproved funding for up to five years and include the following:

  • Pre-positioning of the stock needed to enable early actions
  • Annual readiness activities so the National Society is prepared and on standby to respond
  • Pre-agreed early action activities designed to save lives and livelihoods once a hazard is forecasted

Simplified Early Action Protocols are a lighter approach available to Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, also drawing on the principles of forecast-based financing.

They are simplified plans with a lower budget and a shorter life span than a full EAP. A National Society can have up to three Simplified Early Action Protocols, each focusing on one hazard.

Any National Society can develop an Early Action Protocol or a Simplified Early Action Protocol for a specific hazard and apply for funding from the DREF’s Anticipatory Pillar. For more information, download the brochure below or contact DREF Senior Officer Nazira Lacayo.

Watch: What is forecast-based financing?