Forecast-based Preparedness Action: Probabilistic Forecast Information for Defensible Preparedness Decision-Making and Action (ForPAc)

Forecast-based works to protect agricultural and pastoralist livelihoods

Role in SHEAR

  • Increasing the credibility and pertinence of hazard forecasts by developing improved weather-climate forecasts and associated impacts, over a range of 'seamless' forecast lead times, from days to seasons.
  • Overcoming barriers to preparedness action in advance of hazard events through the development and trialling of forecast-based-action (FbA): a systematic approach to the use of forecasts of weather/climate-related risks in preparedness planning.

Natural hazards in Kenya

The arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) of Kenya, which make up over 80 per cent of the country's landmass and are home to more than 30 per cent of its population, are extremely prone to harsh weather conditions, particularly drought.

Flooding occurs seasonally and particularly affects communities located in the Lake Victoria basin and along the Tana River. In addition, localised flooding occurs in urban areas, including the capital city Nairobi. Heavy rainfall, which typically occurs during the two wet seasons of October to December and March to May, also triggers landslides. Urban flooding during the rainy seasons is also a major challenge in Nairobi, and was particularly so during El Niño year of 2015. Structural issues such as poor urban infrastructure and drainage makes Nairobi particularly vulnerable to urban flooding, further strengthening the need for improved early warning systems.

Aims

ForPAc is undertaking world-leading, co-produced interdisciplinary research to:

  • strengthen the community of practice in Kenya through the co-production of knowledge and stakeholder-driven deliberative processes
  • improve the effectiveness of early-warning systems (EWS) with a focus on hazard-risk forecasting and links to concrete actions, which can be taken from the community level (agriculturalists and pastoralists) to the national level (mandated agencies)
  • share and generalise lessons learned to support improved preparedness in other disaster-prone regions, and influence the international resilience policy dialogue

Approach

  • Bringing together world-renowned research institutes in the UK and East Africa, with expertise in forecasting science, hazard impacts and vulnerability, and agencies responsible for EWS and humanitarian response.
  • Focusing on a set of existing EWS in urban and rural settings for flood and drought in Kenya. These provide a strong platform for implementation and rapid uptake of results, new approaches and tools.
  • Engaging local stakeholders in EWS mapping processes and iterative processes of EWS and information portal development.
  • Incorporating improved methods of risk forecast production, early warning advice and standard operating procedures into the operational practices of national mandated agencies (the NDMA, KMD, Red Cross Kenya and ALERT network members).
  • Informing key policy makers and forums of best practice, cutting-edge science, and emerging challenges through workshops, meetings, forums and policy briefings with high-level representatives of agencies such as ISDR, FAO, WFP FEWSNet, and national donors.

Innovation

  • Development and evaluation of state-of-the-art, weather-climate risk forecasts linked to decision-relevant impacts on agricultural and pastoralist livelihoods.
  • Co-development of hazard-risk forecast products with agencies that operate EWS and plan for preparedness actions.
  • Development and evaluation of well-defined plans for FbA, which link forecasts' attributes to risk reduction actions.