Statement by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the High-Level Humanitarian Event on Anticipatory Action

09.09.2021 - Speech

Over the last few years, the global humanitarian system has done an outstanding job in dealing with a growing number of crises.

However, record-level humanitarian needs resulting from conflict, the pandemic and climate change are outpacing our capacity to respond.

That is why merely reacting to the devastation caused by floods, droughts or conflict will not be enough. We need to shift our focus to anticipating risks.

That makes today’s event so important. And I thank Martin and James for co-chairing it.

The Secretary-General gave examples from Bangladesh and Somalia for how anticipatory action works.

Let me add another: In the Philippines, predicting typhoons has improved and spared many lives.

Forecast-based triggers developed by the Red Cross allow for action three days before a storm makes landfall.

This gives enough time to strengthen shelters, move animals out of harm’s way, and harvest crops.

Of course, we cannot predict all natural and man-made disasters. But examples like this and from more than 60 countries show: Anticipatory action is often more effective, less expensive and more dignified than reactive approaches.

But while we are able to predict at least 20 percent of humanitarian crises, currently, less than one percent of humanitarian funding is used in an anticipatory manner.

That is why we need a shift in the global humanitarian system and why we must provide more funding to anticipatory approaches.

Germany has been a main contributor of anticipatory action funding, but we are still far from matching the 20 percent benchmark for predictable crises.

I am therefore glad to announce that we will significantly step up and change the way we do humanitarian funding:

Within two years, Germany will provide at least 5 percent of its overall humanitarian funding through anticipatory approaches.

We aim to double our contribution to anticipatory action in 2022 and to eventually contribute 100 million euro in 2023.

But funding alone is not enough:

We need to change the mindset of all actors, also on the ground. Together with our partners, we will therefore support capacity-building for anticipatory action at the local level.

We also must invest in better data and analytics. That is why we are working with our partners to establish a data fund called the Complex Risk Analytics Fund. This fund will help to better anticipate, prevent and respond to risks in crisis settings. We will commit 4.5 million euro to this fund – and I invite you to join us!

Finally, Germany is highly engaged in climate risk finance and insurance solutions. We work through the InsuResilience Global Partnership, which protected 137 million people against climate risks in 2020. This year, we pledged an additional 245 million euro.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

There is strong evidence that anticipatory approaches work and make the humanitarian system more effective.

So, please, join us to make anticipatory action an essential part of the humanitarian response.

Thank you.


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