UNICEF Reflections on Early Warning

From: Everett M. Ressler

1. On the basis of experience supporting global monitoring and stimulating early actions both within UNICEF and through collective inter-agency processes, we share the notion that a critical link between early warning and early action is the decision making processes.
2. We have drawn up a brief paper summarizing “lessons learned” on the linkages between early warning and early action which is available through the IASC Secretariat in Geneva. These conclusions are drawn from the experience of humanitarian agencies working together as the IASC SWG (Sub-Working Group on Early Warning and Contingency Planning) continues to collaborate in putting in place systems and facilitating the practice of early warning, preparedness and contingency planning.
3. As an observation, most processes related to sensitive socio-political/conflict issues, related both to preparedness and preventive action, remain internal processes within agencies.
4. Our experience working at the global level suggests that both the processes of early warning and stimulation of action, particularly related to preparedness for humanitarian support, are rather robust. Unfortunately, preventive action is often more difficult and complex than response.
5. Over the past seven years the SWG, as a collective inter-agency effort, has stimulated and supported early action in many threatening conflict situations, demonstrating repeatedly that early warning can stimulate early action.

Everett M. Ressler
Chief, Early Warning and Preparedness Unit UNICEF Emergency Services
Co-Chair, IASC SWG on Early Warning and Contingency Planning


One response to “UNICEF Reflections on Early Warning

  1. Casey A. Barrs

    Dear Mr. Ressler,

    If I understand point#3 above, agencies seek not only to prevent conflict but also PREPARE for it. Are you referring to preparatory efforts such as stockpiling, standby personnel, quick discretionary monies, etc?

    Do you know of efforts to support the capacity of local beneficiaries or local staff and partners to survive and serve others in the event that they will someday face violence alone?

    Casey Barrs
    Protection Research Fellow
    The Cuny Center

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