For humanity to prosper in the face of climate change, we need to think of ourselves as having a shared future, one we can draw on our collective knowledge and resources to plan for.
'Adapting to Climate Change' program
Throughout our "Adapting to Climate Change" program, we are proposing a triple approach to support vulnerable people within our communities to adapt to climate change.
Building on the success of the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance, we are now implementing an innovative and integrated approach to further help our communities. As of January 2021, we will launch our ‘Adapting to Climate Change’ Program that is based on a triple extension approach:
1. Expand our existing flood program: in addition to the current leverage approach that aims to leverage USD 1 billion of funding to flood resilience, we are expanding the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance's work on communities in the developing world with the ambition to make approximatively four million people more resilient to flooding by 2024.
2. Leverage: to further engage Zurich employees and stakeholders and therefore further increasing our overall impact, we will leverage our global approach on flood and apply it in Zurich business unit markets, piloting localized versions of the program and focusing on relevant single-hazards such as floods or wildfires.
3. Urbanize: to move beyond a single hazard approach in mostly rural environments, we will extend the localized approach and pilot a multiple (or compound) hazards approach in Urban areas in selected Zurich markets.
Read the full media release: Millions to benefit from an expanded leading program to adapt to climate change
We cannot stop the rain. We cannot stop the water. But we can help communities cope with the impacts.
David Nash, Senior Flood Resilience Alliance Manager.
Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance
The Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance (the Alliance) connects with people familiar with an affected community and builds an understanding of how the risks everyone is facing interrelate. The question then isn’t always how we stop the next flood, but how a rice farmer might find a secondary source of income should the river break its banks.
It is a multi-sector cooperation, launched in 2013 and funded by the Z Zurich Foundation, which focuses on finding practical ways to help communities in developed and developing countries strengthen their resilience to flood risk.
By using Zurich’s risk expertise as a global insurer, the Alliance helps customers and communities to reduce the devastating impacts of floods, even before a flood hits – we call this flood resilience. Floods affect more people globally than any other type of natural hazard and cause some of the largest economic, social and humanitarian losses. USD 1 invested in prevention saves, on average, USD 5 in future losses.
This program was the recipient of the 2014 UN Lighthouse Award and also earned the Outstanding Achievement Award from the 2019 National Hurricane Conference in the U.S. for its work to develop and implement its Post Event Review Capability approach. The program also received the National Civil Protection Award by the President of Mexico in September 2019.
Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance members:
Scaling up our climate adaptation response
In 2021, building on the expertise developed with the Alliance, we have also started its work on urban resilience by committing support to three new programs: in the United States, Ecuador and Colombia. While the last two focus on flood resilience in an urban context, the American pilot is also integrating a social component.
In the United States, the Z Zurich Foundation has teamed up with Zurich North America and Resilient Cities Network to launch its first climate program looking at urban resilience. Building resilience in communities can positively affect the lives of thousands. This multi-year program, named North America Climate Resilience Program, will initially work in highlighted neighborhoods of Houston and Boston, seeking to develop actions and implement projects that address climate risks, social inequities and resilience. A cornerstone of the program will be the adaptation of the Zurich Flood Resilience Measurement for Communities diagnostic tool.
Foundations for Change: Using adaptive management to navigate uncertainty
This report presents lessons from Year 3 of Phase II of the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance work, focusing on how the Alliance structure and culture have allowed us to adaptively manage to ensure continued focus on flood resilience and progress toward our goals, while also addressing COVID-19 needs and concerns. With the Alliance’s commitment to maintain our flood resilience engagement throughout the pandemic, we avoided fully pausing our programs and maintained our flood resilience focus. Our ability to identify pathways for achieving change that have co-benefits for flood resilience and COVID-19 have critically helped us to strengthen our relationships and credibility. Both are foundational to achieving change, as evidenced in previous Foundations for Change reports. The report presents concrete recommendations for both donors and practitioners regarding why and how to proactively implement similar adaptive management elements in development, risk reduction, climate adaptation, and resilience work.
At What Cost?
In 2009, wealthy countries committed to mobilize $100 bn in annual climate finance to assist low-income countries to address climate change by 2020. To mark the deadline of this commitment, this report from Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance members Concern Worldwide and Mercy Corps assesses the last decade of global official development assistance (ODA) invested in building people’s resilience to climate change. They ask two questions, 1: Is the international community meeting the commitments it has made? and 2: Is funding for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction going to those people and countries that need it most? The findings are shocking and yet unsurprising; there is insufficient investment in preparing for the impacts of climate change and money is not going to the countries and people that need it most.
Closing the Water Window
Over the course of 2016- 2019 to accelerate the impact of Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance’s work the Z Zurich Foundation invested USD 10 million through the Global Resilience Partnership’s Water Window Challenge.
The Global Resilience Partnership, launched at the U.S. African Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC in 2014, was set up by The Rockefeller Foundation and USAID to help transform how development and humanitarian actions are undertaken to benefit hundreds of millions of people living in developing countries. Through the Water Window Challenge, 12 projects were implemented in South and Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Those projects, together, positively impacted more than half a mission people and created strong learnings on how resilience is being built.
SBP, Inc. (formerly the St Bernard Project) was founded in March 2006 in response to the impact of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Zurich’s relationship with SBP started more than a decade ago and the Z Zurich Foundation has provided support over the last 7 years. SBP aim to “shrink the time between disaster and recovery” thus limiting the impacts on vulnerable people of disasters. In 2018, we extended our third three-year grant to support an increased focus on pre-event resilience, around these three main areas of focus.
- Extending access to preparedness and resilience building training: part of the grant was intended to develop four e-learning modules to reach many more people than face-to-face training that was offered through their Disaster Recovery and Resilience Lab (DRRL). See https://sbpprotects.org
- Government training: while major cities in the US affected by disasters do have some experience of navigating the systems to obtain support for their communities, many smaller places simply don’t have expertise. The purpose of SBP’s work in training government officials is intended to bridge that knowledge gap and share experience between city halls.
- Advocacy: encouraging more pre-event resiliency is important for the future. In the US, much of the response to disasters is handled by the Federal Government through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), so finding ways to enhance their role, speeding up the release of emergency funds and improving damage assessment processes to help get assistance where it is needed most is the main objective. This is a long-term strategy.
Find out more about SBP's work