Forecast-based Financing (FbF) is a new concept with wide international support which uses forecasts of natural hazards to initiate humanitarian preparedness actions. An initial multimillion investment has led to 15 multi-hazard FbF pilot projects worldwide, implemented by the World Food Programme and Red Cross / Red Crescent Societies. These projects focus on initiating forecast-based actions on the ground and do not have capacity, expertise or resource to grapple with the wider challenges that currently hinder the success of FbF including understanding flood predictability and action governance.
FATHUM will provide the much needed evidence and direction through co-produced interdisciplinary research that will enable FbF to move beyond the initial pilot studies to national and international mechanisms for funding preparedness and humanitarian actions before a disaster. Our researchers will use the lens of pilot projects in highly flood-prone districts in Uganda and Mozambique, to provide new scientific and social scientific knowledge with substantial research impact. This world-leading international team of academics, humanitarians and forecasters have co-produced the FATHUM project design to maximise the developmental and capacity-building potential, ultimately improving resilience in the most vulnerable communities in sub-Saharan Africa.
FATHUM aims to undertake the world leading coproduced interdisciplinary research which will provide the needed evidence and direction to enable the successful implementation and scale-up of Forecast-based Financing locally, nationally and internationally, enhancing preparedness and resilience to disasters.
FATHUM will provide analytical rigour through co-produced interdisciplinary research to enable scale up of FbF nationally and internationally. In particular, researchers will use the lens of pilot projects in highly flood-prone districts in Uganda and Mozambique, where practitioners are grappling with questions of flood predictability, action governance, and sustainability. FATHUM will do this through linked Work Packages that address 4 Objectives:
Work Package 1: Science to support Forecast-based Financing research will address the limits of predictability for the multi hazard drivers of flooding in the pilot regions, looking at how current limits of predictability can be extended by considering the role of teleconnections in extended-range flood forecasting. In particular, it will look at characterising the dominant sources of uncertainty for flood forecasting for FbF in Eastern and Southern Africa.
Work Package 2: The relevance of local context in the implementation of FbF will focus on to what extent the implementation of FbF needs to reflect the local risk context. It will look at how local and indigenous knowledge that has advanced resilience to multi-hazards in the past (e.g. floods and droughts), as well as how changes to the drivers of flood risk have influenced the likelihood of endangering floods. It will bring together these considerations by drawing comparisons between different case studies to address how these factors enhance or discourage the effectiveness of FbF for preparedness and immediate relief, and how FbF sits within the context of longer term resilience building as well as short-term humanitarian response.
Work Package 3: Multi-stakeholder definitions and criteria for success in FbF looks at multi-stakeholder perspectives on the broad-ranging opinions on what constitutes a ‘successful’ implementation of FbF. This feeds into the wider knowledge on the use of uncertain forecasts, as well as contributing to evidence on how established Monitoring & Evaluation procedures may need to adapt to the use of uncertain forecast information.
Work Package 4: A framework for scaling-up of Forecast-based Financing will bring together expertise and evidence from the other work packages to reflect upon the existing social protection, disaster risk management and humanitarian systems to understand the opportunities for scaling up FbF beyond the local-scale pilot studies to national or even international humanitarian mechanisms.