Research for Anticipatory Action in the Humanitarian Sector for the UN System

Lead PI: Andrew J. Kruczkiewicz ,

Unit Affiliation: International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI)

October 2021 - October 2022
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: This effort will leverage the expertise of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) to support OCHA's implementation of triggers for Anticipatory Action (AA). All the tasks listed below will be implemented by OCHA as the leading agency with support from IRI as technical/scientific advisor.

Task 1: Understanding opportunities and challenges related to consuming climate models for decision-making in anticipatory humanitarian action

OCHA will develop an approach to select and combine multiple precipitation forecasts as the main source for trigger determination for drought-related food insecurity. IRI will support this work by:
Providing recommendations on which models should be included in a trigger for
Providing technical advice on OCHA's methodology to combine different forecasts
into a single input for an AA trigger; and
Helping OCHA articulate the pros and cons of various methodological approaches (for instance probabilistic vs tercile-based models).

Milestone 1: IRI to provide feedback on OCHA's selection and analysis of precipitation forecasts and on the documented pros and cons of each forecast for OCHA's AA regions of interest.

Task 2: Development of methodological approach for adapting forecasts to local contexts within the framework of anticipatory humanitarian action

OCHA will develop methodologies to utilize climate models within specific humanitarian contexts in support of anticipatory action. IRI will support this effort by:

Providing recommendations on the inclusion of additional variables, such as
livelihood zones, seasonal calendar, and other country-specific factors;
Providing guidance on the scientific soundness of the methodological approach to
downscaling global forecasts to regions of interest; and
Providing advice on appropriate validation of triggers using historical data and/or
indicators other than precipitation forecasts.

Milestone 2: IRI to review and provide feedback on OCHA's methodology for developing context-sensitive triggers based on climate forecasts.

Task 3: Tooling and knowledge-sharing for AA
OCHA's will create a "forecast literacy" publication to help the humanitarian community at large better understand climate models. IRI will support this work by:
Provide feedback on OCHA's documentation of how uncertainty is captured by
climate models and reflected in forecasts, and what the predictive probability of various methodologies means and does not mean; and
Jointly developing communication materials on the tradeoff between certainty and forecast lead time, providing decision-makers guidance to ascertain the risk and benefit of decisions made based on predictions as well as the opportunity cost of delaying decision until later forecasts are available.

Milestone 3.1: Publication of technical guidance related to Tasks 1-2 as applied to the specific context of OCHA AA.

Milestone 3.2: Two presentations from IRI to OCHA senior management or other stakeholders.

Final Deliverable: A final report will be delivered to OCHA at the close of the period of performance describing data requirements, approach, and standard operating procedures, and will include any materials developed for training purposes.