Emergency Disaster Financing

What's the challenge?

There are many crises happening throughout the world and it can be hard to focus international attention, and funds, on one specific place.

This is particularly hard for somewhere like Somalia.

  1. Somalia has a history of conflict and drought, making it harder for one particular event to stand out. 
  2. Drought, food insecurity and conflict are also slow-burn events - they don't start on a specific day. 
  3. Emergency aid is also most effective when it's applied several months before a crisis has taken hold, when there aren't yet massive effects seen on the ground.  

Asking the international community to start a worldwide funding campaign takes significant social and institutional capital.  Getting it wrong has meaningful consequences.

Donor decisions need to be 4-6 months ahead of famine or people will die. 

It's currently difficult to be able to easily present the climate story.  Valuable analyses such as the FewsNet Integrated Phase Classification maps are available but these are not designed to be used in isolation.

What does Concern need?

1. To be able to quickly understand and communicate the current climate situation and the likelihood for disaster

They need to be able to show analysis that can quickly and clearly communicate the situation in Somalia to a President or a Prime-Minister, alongside all the other facets of the crisis.  This needs to work in tandem with existing analysis such as the IPC maps, helping triangulate and explain them.  It needs to also be able to show how the current disaster links to historical events, plus to forecast the future weather.

2. To be able to link climate data effectively into current analysis protocols

Concern Worldwide run monthly gap analyses for Somalia which show whether different regions are meeting different IPC grades.  They need climate data that easily slots into this process, without having to employ a meteorologist.

2. To be able to grade the climate information to allow effective forecast based finance

Imagine a world where we respond proportionately to disasters, well in advance.

Concern Worldwide uses a grading system to understand how bad a disaster might be.  For example, they might create do a small model to understand the probability of a specific disaster occurring e.g. famine from Gu rains failure.  This might include factors such as

  1. Large number of vulnerable groups present - some threshold e.g. 50%.
  2. Need a failed 1st rainy season, below normal.
  3. Need a failed 2nd rainy season, below normal.
  4. Some sort of conflict that heavily restricts market access and aid.

This could then be linked with specific actions and a value for money trigger.  For example, when the probability of disaster hits >20% it becomes cost effective to respond early.  If it’s 19% it’s cost effective to wait and see what happens.   We know that there’s a huge margin of error on both sides of that equation, but it is a quantitative starting point that can effectively focus discussions and streamline the response.

Finally, there needs to be a way to quickly shift the equation for the most vulnerable communities to show their red-flag status.

NGO staff need to be doing this sort of analysis, not spending days staring at climate data portals