Sri Lanka hosted the first national-level workshop on Anticipatory Action

Share with your friend

An Anticipatory Action workshop by Sri Lanka Red Cross Society: tools, mechanisms and a pathway forward 

Sri Lanka held its first national-level sensitization workshop on Anticipatory Action (AA) in Colombo. This was hosted by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) in collaboration with the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) and with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Anticipation Hub.

“This AA Workshop was an important and timely event for Sri Lanka. This enriched the country’s capacity to act swiftly to protect the communities at risk, saving lives, properties, and livelihoods. Studies have established the significant benefits of taking action prior to a hazardous event and mitigating the impact of a predictable crisis. Every USD invested in anticipatory action can generate a significant return of up to USD 7 due to losses avoided and added benefits. This allows us to save more money spent on recovery and rehabilitation programmes, which eventually will benefit Sri Lanka, a country that is battling for economic stability”, says the Director General of SLRCS, Dr. Mahesh Gunasekara.

This workshop was the first step in creating a roadmap for implementing AA  in Sri Lanka as a collaborative effort with stakeholders. Representatives from the government, the United Nations, international and local non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, the private sector, donors, research institutions, academic institutions, and universities were among the more than 50 participants from 30 stakeholder organisations. There were also Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners present, such as the IFRC and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“The workshop resulted in an increased understanding of the anticipatory action approach by government counterparts, stakeholders, and partners. A Technical Working Group for AA in Sri Lanka will be established as the immediate output, followed by a roadmap to ensure collective action over the next three years. The common hazards in Sri Lanka are natural disasters that occur due to extreme weather events as a result of climate change. We will consider floods, landslides, and droughts when implementing anticipatory action. The dengue epidemic is also an area of focus that we could work on”, added the AA focal point of SLRCS, Ganga Kariyawasam.

The workshop featured a panel discussion that built dialogue with the audience and resulted in a productive conversation. Panellists included Raymond Zingg, the IFRC’s regional anticipatory action coordinator for Asia-Pacific; Winson Gnanatheepan, a disaster risk reduction specialist at World Vision; Chinthaka Rathnasiri, the acting director of the Human Settlements Planning and Training Division of the National Building Research Organisation; and T.W.K. Indika Pushpakumara, the Deputy Director (emergency operations) of the Disaster Management Centre. The workshop produced many insights and a new vision for the country’s disaster management specialists—one that incorporates anticipatory action.

Raymond Zingg and Finau Leveni, the IFRC’s regional disaster law coordinator for Asia-Pacific, led the workshop. The event was moderated by Susil Perera, an expert in international disaster risk reduction.

What is Anticipatory Action?

Early warning and early action, also known as anticipatory action or forecast-based action, refers to taking precautions before a disaster strikes based on early warnings or forecasts. It must involve meaningful engagement with at-risk communities in order to be effective. 

Share with your friend
Leave a Comment


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

    Leave a Reply