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Why scenario building?

The humanitarian community often finds itself unprepared for unfolding humanitarian developments or sudden events. Recognising the importance for better preparedness, ACAPS has developed a methodology for developing plausible scenarios. These scenarios help provide necessary analysis of how situations may evolve and identify the potential humanitarian impact. This in turn can inform timely contingency planning and preparedness measures.

Solid scenario building is the key to inform timely contingency planning and preparedness measures.

Which scenario-building methodology does ACAPS use?

There are different approaches to examining possible futures.  For most humanitarian settings, ACAPS recommends the ‘chain of plausibility’ approach, which starts with identifying variables that are likely to spark a chain of events that could result in a humanitarian impact.

What does the process look like?

ACAPS has facilitated development of a number of scenarios, including on the impact of El Niño and possible La Niña phenomena in Indonesia; regional scenarios on the migrant/refugee crisis in Europe; as well as a set of scenarios on the Syria crisis.  An important part of the process is one or more Scenario Building Workshops, during which participants with expertise and knowledge on the complexity of the crisis are invited to participate in a joint analysis session. The workshop is aimed at creating a common understanding on how situations may evolve and could serve as a platform for collaborative discussion for planning to respond to humanitarian impacts. The findings of the Scenario Building Workshop(s) are complemented with a review of secondary data, individual consultations and a review of the scenarios by stakeholders. 

One of the main outputs of the scenario building exercise is a report with a set of key scenarios including an overview of the events that could trigger the scenario, the resulting humanitarian consequences and impact, estimated caseload, operational constraints and recommended actions. A set of indicators is developed to enable monitoring of whether the identified scenarios are materialising. In line with ACAPS criteria for providing support, ACAPS would make the document available for free use by the general public. 

The process takes approximately two to three weeks, including preparatory activities, deployment and report-writing, depending on the context. 

Interested in getting support?

For further information about the possibility of receiving ACAPS support with scenario-building, please contact us at info(a)acaps.org

Please note that ACAPS is a non-profit project aimed at supporting the humanitarian stakeholders with assessments, analysis, methodology and capacity developments. It operates on a core budget enabling its core activities. In-country scenario-building work is being conducted on a cost-recovery basis.