Market Baselines as Preparedness

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Pre-Crisis Market Assessments (PCMAs) - how useful are market baselines as part of preparedness or anticipatory action activities?

Aug. 11, 2023, 6:17 p.m.

Jimena Peroni

hi! there are many lessons learnt from Hurricane Maria, indeed, but really interesting on the ones you are referring to. If i understood you right, was the credit market which was the main bottleneck of the supply chain? or what the credit line to channel resources that was "stuck", which would have benefited from a more shock responsive /sensitive measure, indeed working with the central bank beforehand in the prep phase? Can yon expand further on this, whether is the first or the second one, I am really interested in both perspectives' thanks!!

June 9, 2023, 6:31 p.m.

Sasha Muench

Wow! What a great use of the PCMA. It would be great to see any reports or data summaries you have from that process.

June 9, 2023, 6:20 a.m.

jacqueline frize

Concern World wide Niger completed a PCMA earlier this year in the Tahoua region with a focus on building preparedness capacity and analysis of market dynamics. The PCMA methodology was an excellent way for the teams who have been working in the region for many years to analyse existing data and to focus on broader market flows within Niger but also with 3 key boarders. There is plenty of price data available, but the PCMA allowed the teams to do more in depth trend analysis, identify data gaps, especially when market price data is aggregated and presented as an average, price dynamics in outlier markets are easily lost through aggregation. The teams had carried out a local risk profile of the top 5 risks affecting different departments were identified with local authorities. Instead of selecting a rapid-onset hazard such as floods or bush fires, the validation process led to the decision to tackle dry spells in the yearly hungry season and compare normal year with crises years. The teams selected 2 critical markets that are interlinked, millet and goats which are the basis of the Terms of Trade in the Sahel. The PCMA methodology again allowed for in depth analysis of seasonal factors, private actor roles, and government social protection interventions that led to a much more robust Response Analysis phase for Concern and its government partners, able to identify a range of options from development across the nexus and emergency responses in a region that is increasingly experiencing the effects of climate, but also insecurity. This experience has shown that the PCMA methodology can be a lot more than a pre-crisis EMMA when the process allows local actors to take part from beginning to end. It did require 3 months from planning to reporting stage though. Very worth it

May 31, 2023, 4:41 p.m.

James Shepherd-Barron

I’m no great expert, but I sometimes think PCMA’s and EMMA’s miss the point, especially during the readiness (preparedness) phase: It’s not so much about the capacity of ‘the market’ but why it lacks capacity. A major lesson from Hurricane Maria in 2017 — but, interestingly, one that doesn’t feature in any of the Lessons Learning documentation as far as I can see — was the need for pre-approved lines of credit along the whole supply chain. Since this involves government guarantees, make sure you bring the Central Bank Chief Cashier into your planning early on. Don’t assume the World Bank will be doing this. Good Luck

May 31, 2023, 4:36 p.m.

Sasha Muench

Great question Jimena. In supporting the Sudan response, I have been reminded how useful it is to already know who key private sector actors are and ideally have some existing relationships before a crisis so you can quickly partner with them after. For hurricane preparedness, I would think doing a simple market mapping of retail networks supplying housing materials and basic needs would be useful, and then ideally a sense of the supply chain and how resilient it is. Even a desk-top mapping exercise might illustrate to local teams why they need to bring key market actors into planning exercises.

May 31, 2023, 2:21 p.m.

Jimena Peroni

Great discussion. Here i am preparing some messaging on what are the 3 things an organization should do now and avoid in preparation for the hurricane season and brought me back to this post. How can I message better that in all our preparation we should include markets from the momento 0. We can't overlook them, there are not market neutral interventions and we can leverage on them. Working with and through markets can help speed recovery and limit economic impact during and after disasters. Can anyone share exercises of simulations (can be SIMEX o simulacro in spanish) or on the table (theoretical) on working with markets in preparation of different scenarios?

March 1, 2023, 9:07 a.m.

Karri Byrne

Ok, in all honesty we didn't use the PCMA methodology exactly... but maybe it would still be helpful to know that at the start of the PRIME project -- knowing there would be a drought at some point during implementation (that's what the forecasting people told us) -- we did the 'baseline steps' of an EMMA. The findings meant that we built things into our development activities that we never originally thought of (specifically, we supported the development of fodder as product regularly stocked by agri-dealers. When we later provided fodder vouchers during the drought (also an innovation at the time) there was a market to work with, because we had created it in advance). At the start, it was also a really good way to get our brand new team on board with what we wanted to do in the project... we included as much of the team as we could, even if (especially if!) they were not 'market' people.

Feb. 24, 2023, 7:04 p.m.

Emily Sloane

Hi Corrie and Chris! Adding my two cents, as someone who helped test out the PCMA approach in four countries: The short answer is no, I unfortunately don't have good examples of PCMAs that have been used as intended. Part of this may be due to the fact that I was only present in the assessment contexts for a short time, so I have limited knowledge of if and to what extent report findings and recommendations were put to use (for preparedness and/or emergency response). As I've said many times before, I think this approach of flying in external "experts" to lead market assessments is really problematic, because in my experience it reduces in-country ownership of the assessment findings and recommendations, which means that in country stakeholders are less likely to apply these recommendations, or even remember them, if and when the predicted crisis occurs. I do think that we as a community have moved away from this approach in recent years and towards lighter, more country-led collection of market information (and this is in no small part thanks to REACH and its leadership). In my experience, the most tangible benefit of doing PCMA exercises has been an enhanced awareness of and appreciation for markets and market information among (certain) participants. I'm not sure that alone justifies the trouble of conducting a market baseline, since there are likely other ways to develop this understanding that are less resource intensive and more immediately practical.

Feb. 22, 2023, 10:32 a.m.

Chris Paci

Hi Corrie, Thanks for this question. It’s a tough one, because best practices and actual practices diverge so widely. I agree that Pre-Crisis Market Assessments have a lot of untapped potential, and that some sort of baseline (whether or not it’s classified as a PCMA) is 100% necessary if we want to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a given market environment. After a crisis hits, too, it’s 100% necessary to *already* have pre-crisis data in place if you want to genuinely understand which of the issues you see are due to the shock and which are underlying long-term weaknesses. I’m not saying anything groundbreaking there. Yet the reality is that it can be difficult for humanitarians, at least, to work that way. Often, by definition, we show up after a crisis has begun and scramble to figure out not only what’s happening right now, but what the area was like before; often we end up using post-shock emergency market assessments as if they were PCMAs because we have nothing else. Even in crises that have stabilized and are transitioning into recovery and development responses—which is an excellent time to roll out a PCMA to serve as a sort of “reset”, consolidate what we know about post-crisis markets, and launch new types of programming—donor funding for assessments focuses strongly on themes like livelihoods, labor markets, FSPs, etc., but not as much on anticipating the next potential crisis. For REACH, at least (which interacts largely with humanitarian donors), we’ve found it difficult to attract donor funding for PCMAs or other baselines in stable post-crisis situations, and virtually impossible to do so in contexts where humanitarian actors are not already present. Is this partly a branding issue? Should we be promoting the value of “Market Resilience and Preparedness Assessments” instead of PCMAs? Not sure, but any thoughts are welcome. As an alternative to PCMAs, our strategy has been to set up sustainable long-term monitoring projects within CWGs to not only anticipate issues with market resilience and address them as they arise, but also to create a body of historical data so that, whenever a new shock hits, we can quickly understand how the situations before and after the shock differ. This has been very useful in Northwest Syria right now, where we have 8 years of consistent market monitoring data and a large network of CWG members who join us in collecting it; we can easily compare January and February data to chart how the earthquake has changed market functionality, how it *hasn’t* changed market functionality, and what responses need to be launched or redesigned as a result. Ukraine is a counter-example, where actors once focused on a limited geographic area but, a year ago, found that all the very robust data collected along the line of contact was not enough to support a nationwide response; the CWG essentially had to rebuild and re-consolidate its assessment portfolio from scratch. It’s a useful example because it highlights that even a very rich and complete body of baseline data can be of limited use if it doesn’t correctly anticipate the nature of the next shock to hit. Hope this is helpful, and all the best, Chris

Feb. 21, 2023, 8 a.m.


Many of us have taken part in PCMAs - how many practical examples do we have out there of market baselines being practically useful as part of preparedness or anticipatory action activities? I see a huge potential in this but am not sure how often donors fund market baselines ( using the EMMA approach or otherwise) these days. What have your experiences been of using market data in pre-crisis contexts and how has it benefitted an eventual response? :question: