Community update: MEAL (June 2019): Data for early warning and forecasting, WMO, GECARR, funding

Volker Hüls
Volker Hüls
Volker Hüls works as a consultant, evaluating humanitarian programs. He currently lives in Tanzania.
Volker has 20 years’ experience in international assistance, with most of these at the nexus between humanitarian and development programs. Before his international work, he was a civil protection practitioner in Germany. He has authored and co-authored recent humanitarian evaluation syntheses, and has this year evaluated responses in Syria, South Sudan, and Nigeria.
Dark stormclouds over a road

Photo: Dean Hochman

Community updates provide brief highlights from expert practitioners about what they see as the key developments in a specific area, what resources they would recommend, and what to look out for in the coming months.

Key developments in the area of MEAL

The two consecutive cyclones that have this year hit Mozambique and its neighbors have reminded us of the importance of early warning and using data to predict emergency events. This month I would therefore like to highlight some specific news on early warning and forecasting systems.

A global multi-hazard alert system

Staying on the topic of early warning, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) at its ruling congress this month agreed to support a global aggregator system – its Global Multi-Hazard System - that rather than predict what the weather will be like, provides information on what impact the weather is going to have. This is an ambitious undertaking in data aggregation, and it is going to be interesting to see what comes out of it.

The ”Good enough context analysis for rapid response” or GECARR

On the topic of forecasting of crisis situations, it is always an intriguing question how much we can use knowledge of the past to predict the future, and a vital one for humanitarians. The Good Enough Context Analysis for Rapid Response (GECARR) is a simple tool, developed by World Vision International and used actively by the START Network (for example, recently in Zimbabwe), which aims to make this possible, leading to more accurate planning of humanitarian responses to manmade events.

Forecast-based funding of humanitarian action

To round up the topic of early warning and forecasting, it is important to mention that while these systems can to an extent help predict crises, we also need to have the means to act. The UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator this month provided a succinct summary of anticipatory financing in a speech in Berlin, well worth a read. In it he highlights good examples of anticipatory financing, as well as outlining modifications to the CERF mechanism to allow forecast-based funding.

Recommended resources


GECARR information sheet from the Start Network:

Global Multi-Hazard System

More information on the WMO global aggregator plans:
PHAP community updates are written by members of the association and other practitioners in their personal capacity. The views expressed belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of PHAP or any other organizations with which the author is associated.