An anticipatory action workshop in Sri Lanka: tools, mechanisms and a pathway forward

Posted on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023

This article was written for the Anticipation Hub by the Focal Point for Anticipatory Action for Sri Lanka Red Cross Society; Ganga Kariyawasam

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Sri Lanka held its first national-level sensitization workshop on anticipatory action in Colombo on 20 September 2023. This was hosted by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, in collaboration with the Disaster Management Centre and with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Anticipation Hub.

This workshop was a first step towards developing a roadmap for implementing anticipatory action in Sri Lanka, as a joint venture with stakeholders. More than 50 participants from 30 stakeholder organizations joined the event, including representatives from the government, the United Nations, international and local non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, the private sector, donors, research institutions, academic institutions and universities. There were also partners from the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, including the IFRC and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The workshop featured a panel discussion that built a dialogue with the audience and resulted in a productive conversation. Panellists included Raymond Zingg, the IFRC’s regional anticipatory action coordinator for Asia-Pacific; Winson Gnanatheepan, a disaster risk reduction specialist at World Vision; Chinthaka Rathnasiri, the acting director of the Human Settlements Planning and Training Division of the National Building Research Organization; and T.W.K. Indika Pushpakumara, the deputy director (emergency operations) of the Disaster Management Centre. The workshop produced many insights and a new vision for the country’s disaster management specialists – one that incorporates anticipatory action.

The workshop was led by Raymond Zingg and Finau Leveni, the IFRC’s regional disaster law coordinator for Asia-Pacific- Susil Perera, an expert in international disaster risk reduction, moderated the event.