The legitimacy, accountability, and ownership of an impact-based forecasting model in disaster governance

Sterre Bierens, Kees Boersma*, Marc J.C. van den Homberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The global shift within disaster governance from disaster response to preparedness and risk reduction includes the emergency
of novel Early Warning Systems such as impact based forecasting and forecast-based financing. In this new paradigm,
funds usually reserved for response can be released before a disaster happens when an impact-based forecast—i.e., the
expected humanitarian impact as a result of the forecasted weather—reaches a predefined danger level. The development
of these impact-based forecasting models are promising, but they also come with significant implementation challenges.
This article presents the data-driven impact-based forecasting model as developed by 510, an initiative of the Netherlands
Red Cross. It elaborates on how questions on legitimacy, accountability and ownership influenced the implementation
of the model within the Philippines with the Philippine Red Cross and the local government as the main stakeholders.
The findings imply that the exchange of knowledge between the designer and manufacturer of impact-based models and
the end users of those models fall short if novel Early Warnign Systems are seen as just a matter of technology transfer.
Instead the development and implementation of impact based models should be based on mutual understanding of the
users’ needs and the developers of such models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-455
Number of pages11
JournalPolitics and Governance
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2020


Sterre Bierens, from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, conducted fieldwork in the Philippines for the project on developing an impact-based forecasting model commissioned by the German Red Cross. Marc van den Homberg, from 510, an initiative of the Netherlands Red Cross and Kees Boersma (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) supported the design and subsequent analysis of the field-work. Kees Boersma also took part in 510 workgroup meetings organized by Marc van den Homberg in the Hague at the Netherlands Red Cross headquarters. The authors could re-use and analyze the data from the codesign sessions, with permission of the German Red Cross, for the independent research described in this academic article. We are very grateful to the German Red Cross for the generous use of the data. We have highly appreciated the opportunity to base our article on interactions on many occasions and levels between the authors and the community of practice around the German Red Cross. The authors gratefully acknowledge Damien Riquet, the German Red Cross forecast-based financing project manager based in Manila, for his invalu- able support in organizing the fieldwork, and our interviewees, for so generously making time to provide us with their insights. Furthermore, the authors would like to thank Orla Canavan (510, an initiative of The Netherlands Red Cross) for her extensive knowledge of co-design sessions and for her support in organizing our sessions for this research. Marc van den Homberg was partly supported by the Netherlands Red Cross Princess Margriet Fund.

FundersFunder number
Damien Riquet
Netherlands Red Cross Princess Margriet Fund
Netherlands Red Cross headquarters
Deutsches Rote Kreuz


    • Accountability
    • Disaster governance
    • Early warning systems
    • Forecast based financing
    • Legitimacy
    • Ownership
    • Power relations
    • Risk reduction


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