Recent food crises, for example those in the Sahel in 2005 and 2010, and most recently in the Horn of Africa, have raised serious questions about the ability of the humanitarian system to respond effectively to Early Warning Systems (EWS).
Despite EWS generating accurate and reliable predictions of emergencies, providing governments and international agencies with ample time to raise funds and intervene early, responses can be characterised as 'too little, too late'.
The repeated failure to translate early warnings into early action has major consequences for the efficacy of humanitarian responses, as agencies are limited in their ability to raise and mobilise resources, build logistical capacity and undertake preventative interventions designed to stop vulnerable people reaching crisis point.
Environmental and demographic trends such as climate change, resource depletion and population growth mean that human vulnerability to slow onset crises is on an upward trend. Addressing current failings presents an opportunity to mitigate this trend and reduce the numbers of people affected by avoidable crises.
Reform requires an in-depth understanding of the barriers, be they political, institutional or technical, that prevent the translation of early warnings into early action. Such barriers may exist within or between particular organizations, within affected countries, or within donor countries. This project aims to identify these barriers for the special case of slow onset food crises, and make recommendations for how these can be overcome. The research is structured around the following areas:
In Somalia, Western Donors Made Famine More, Not Less Likely
The Guardian, Rob Bailey, May 2013
Translating Famine Early Warning into Early Action: A Sahel Case Study
Programme Paper, Paul Melly, April 2013
Managing Famine Risk: Linking Early Warning into Early Action
Chatham House Report, Rob Bailey, April 2013
Translating Famine Early Warning into Early Action: An East Africa Case Study
Programme Paper, Jason Mosley, November 2012
Famine Early Warning and Early Action: The Cost of Delay
Programme Report, Rob Bailey, July 2012
Are We Facing Another Global Food Price Crisis?
Expert Comment, Rob Bailey, July 2012
Translating Early Warning into Early Action: Response within Affected Countries
Workshop Summary, July 2012
Sahel Hunger Crisis Risks Being Another Example of Too Little, Too Late
The Guardian, Rob Bailey, June 2012
Food Crises: Barriers to Early Action
Expert Comment, Rob Bailey, May 2012
Translating Early Warning into Early Action: Response by Donors and Implementing Agencies
Workshop Summary, April 2012
Food Crisis in West Africa: Action Needed
Expert Comment, Rob Bailey, December 2011
Famine in Somalia: Problems with the International Response
Expert Comment, Rob Bailey, July 2011
For more information please contact Estelle Rouhaud.