Water security takes center stage in anticipatory action

IWMI partners with the Anticipation Hub to advance water security in fragile and conflict-affected settings.

By Ngowenani Nohayi

The world is witnessing unprecedented challenges, from global pandemics to the climate crisis, fostering a setting of heightened fragility, conflict and migration. These issues pose significant threats to global development, peace and the stability of food, land and water systems. The recent impact of El Niño in Southern Africa has highlighted these challenges, further exacerbating water scarcity and intensifying food insecurity across the region. With Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe declaring drought as a national disaster and state of emergency, the urgency to address water security issues in fragile and conflict-affected settings has become increasingly evident.

The concept of anticipatory action has emerged as a proactive approach to mitigate disasters and crisis. Governments, humanitarian and development organizations are, however, discovering the need for more scientific evidence to inform collective efforts to address these challenges.

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has forged a strategic partnership to help bridge this gap with the Anticipation Hub, a global platform that facilitates knowledge exchange and learning on anticipatory approaches to disaster risk reduction in humanitarian and development contexts.

People wait for drought relief in Ethiopia. Photo: Oxfam East Africa.

Harnessing anticipatory action for water resilience 

Under the new partnership, IWMI will work with the Anticipation Hub to integrate anticipatory approaches with water management strategies under the CGIAR Initiative on Fragility, Conflict and Migration. This will empower vulnerable communities to prepare for water-related disasters, minimizing the impact on their livelihoods and strengthening overall resilience.

The project includes a community of practice around anticipatory action, building on the existing Anticipation Hub platform. This will strengthen resilience and promote sustainable futures in fragile contexts through a series of learning events, dialogues and collaboration among national, regional, and global stakeholders, particularly in the context of migration.

While the Anticipation Hub drives transformative change in disaster management, IWMI’s expertise lies in generating scientific evidence to support policy making. The collaboration aligns perfectly with the objective of the CGIAR Initiative, combining practical action with evidence-based approaches to tackle challenges effectively.

“Evidence is a critical component in efforts to scale up anticipatory action, as countries, communities and practitioners need to know what works and what doesn’t,” said Tim Woods, Communications and Outreach Manager at the Anticipation Hub. “As a world-renowned research institute in the field of water management, IWMI will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Anticipation Hub’s activities, especially related to anticipating hydrological hazards. We are looking forward to hearing much more about its projects during our discussions and dialogue platforms.”

IWMI joins Anticipation Hub 3
A community of practice will connect knowledge with practice and policies. Graphic: Ngowenani Nohayi / IWMI.

IWMI’s partnership with the Anticipation Hub is a significant step towards enhancing resilience and mitigating the impacts of disasters in fragile and conflict affected settings. It will promote the use of early warning early action decision making tools and data informed climate adaptation strategies through collaborative efforts with emphasis on sharing experiences, lessons, data and information while building capacities.

The collaboration opens avenues for continued learning, innovation, and collective action, setting a demand-driven research agenda for advancing anticipatory action and paving the way for a more water-secure and resilient future for generations to come.

Women’s cooperative uses solar energy to operate borehole for market garden in Mauritania. Photo: Raphael Pouget / Climate Visuals. 

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