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Forecast-based Humanitarian Action and Conflict: Promises and pitfalls of planning for anticipatory humanitarian response to armed conflict
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Practitioners of Forecast-based Action (FbA) argue that a humanitarian response able to utilize forecasts to accurately predict disaster, secure funding, and take action before the onset of a crisis will benefit donors and beneficiaries alike. In search of effective and efficient early-action regimes, a number of major humanitarian actors are developing FbA projects of various designs, predominantly in response to natural disaster and famine. While numerous organizations and institutions have expressed interest in developing FbA mechanisms, the tool has only been applied in a limited capacity to the humanitarian needs generated by armed conflict. This research seeks to understand whether a scalable FbA approach can be developed to stage principled, anticipatory humanitarian action in response to situations in which rigorous evaluations predict the likelihood of imminent armed conflict. The hypothesis is that the application of FbA to armed conflict is possible, but due to the complex political nature of conflict, implementing organizations should try to focus on creating mechanisms managed by humanitarian actors and, in so far as possible, be insulated from outside influence. This research is the first academic work to specifically investigate the application of FbA to armed conflict.

Following an extensive review of current FbA mechanisms and conflict early warning practices, this research concludes that a conflict-centered FbA system akin to the automated FbA systems in use today to respond to natural disaster and famine is possible, but that the endeavor presents many practical and conceptual barriers to implementation. In particular, diffuse models such as the Start Fund offer a hopeful glimpse at a type of horizontal, member-driven FbA mechanism that is both highly context-sensitive and relatively insulated from outside influence. Such a design, however, features notable and inherent limitations in its ability to reliably and accurately predict the outbreak of conflict and respond in a manner that minimizes regretful actions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
humanitarian, humanitarian action, international aid, forecast-based financing, forecast-based action, humanitarian aid, international humanitarian aid, FbF, FbA, anticipatory humanitarian action, Loic Hostetter, German Red Cross, Red Cross Movement, Start Fund, Start Network, early warning, early warning system, anticipatory humanitarian response, EWS, FbA
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-388645OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-388645DiVA, id: diva2:1334463
Subject / course
International Humanitarian Action
Educational program
Master Programme in International Humanitarian Action
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-07-23 Created: 2019-07-02 Last updated: 2019-07-23Bibliographically approved

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