Zurich’s Flood Resilience Alliance phase 2
What we focus on – pre-event resilience building
We focus on pre-event resilience building. As insurers, we know the impact that flooding causes. We also know that prevention is cost-effective and that every USD 1 invested in prevention saves on average USD 5 in future losses 1, 2, but still, nearly 87 percent of disaster-related aid spending goes into emergency response, reconstruction and rehabilitation, and only 13 percent toward reducing and managing risks before they became disasters3. But flood resilience cannot be enhanced by one stakeholder alone.
Zurich’s Flood Resilience Alliance started in 2013. Between 2013 and 2018 (phase 1), our multi-sector collaboration between the humanitarian sector, academia and Zurich’s risk experts has focused on shifting from the traditional emphasis on post-event recovery to pre-event resilience. More than 110 communities in nine countries with over 225,000 direct beneficiaries have benefited from our alliance programs. Our evidence-based approach - built through dozens of research papers published, and implemented in the community programs across the globe - illustrates the value of investing in flood resilience, and this will continue to be our vision through to 2023.
According to the ClimateWise Investing for Resilience report, 2016 saw natural hazards causing USD 175 billion worth of economic losses (of which floods are a major part); yet only USD 50 billion were insured. This USD 125 billion gap is due in part to the lack of evidence of “what works” and because there are few incentives and regulations to encourage investments into protection measures at all levels of society.
The first year largely focused on setting up the internal systems and structures to achieve our broader objectives. Combining investment in these systems and structures with leveraging Phase I successes is already leading to promising contributions to flood resilience policy and practice globally. This learning report presents what we have learned about best-practice working as an Alliance and what that set-up is allowing us to accomplish.
1Zurich Risk Nexus: Turning knowledge into action – processes and tools for increasing flood resilience, 2015.
2Zurich Flood resilience alliance White Paper: Making communities more flood resilient: The Role of cost-benefit analysis and other decision support tools in Disaster Risk Reduction. White Paper, Zurich Flood resilience alliance, 2014
3Kellett, J. & Caravani, A. 2013 (959 KB/PDF): ‘Financing disaster risk reduction: A 20-year story of international aid,’ ODI and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery at the World Bank, London/ Washington
Who we are – the nine organizations forming the Zurich flood resilience alliance
In 2013, we created a multi-organizational alliance to enhance community flood resilience, each member bringing complementary skills and expertise to link academic insights, humanitarian sector capabilities and risk management expertise to improve community resilience to floods.
This alliance is now comprised of nine members – Zurich Insurance Group working with the civil society and humanitarian organizations Concern Worldwide, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Mercy Corps, Plan International and Practical Action as well as research partners the International Institute for Applied Systems and Analysis (IIASA), the London School of Economics (LSE) and the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-International (ISET). Funding for our alliance partners is provided by the Z Zurich Foundation.
How we work together – the alliance model is one of shared responsibility and full collaboration
To achieve large scale impact, learnings need to be turned into practical solutions and then used to inform large scale programs. Our alliance brings together specialists in each of these areas which will lead to improved community resilience towards flooding. This is a true collaboration. Rather than Zurich simply being a donor and providing the money for research to be conducted and community programs to be implemented in isolation, we work together through a set of work streams, each led by one alliance member organization. Coordination across the work streams ensures they don’t operate in silos. They are accountable to the alliance management team – senior representatives from all member organizations. The work streams are organized as follows: