Zurich invests USD 10 million to drive innovation in most pressing developmental challenge – flood resilience

Author: Global Resilience

Posted on 25 August 2015

Zurich, August 25, 2015 – Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) joins efforts with the Global Resilience Partnership to launch the Global Resilience Challenge Water Window. The Water Window is a grant-based competition focused on building resilience to different water challenges, including floods. Zurich is the first private sector member of the Resilience Partnership and provides a USD 10 million investment to fund solutions to build flood resilience. The Global Resilience Partnership and Zurich call on other corporations to join them so that all can better realize a resilience dividend.

Zurich will invest USD 10 million as part of its long-term commitment to the Global Resilience Partnership (the Resilience Partnership), convened by The Rockefeller Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The Resilience Partnership is driving a shared global resilience agenda, where humanitarian and development planning is better aligned, deploying precious resources to support innovations, which will build stronger communities that are able to overcome chronic stresses and better handle inevitable shocks.

The Global Resilience Challenge Water Window (the Water Window) invites submissions that will build resilience to different water challenges and which stand to benefit of millions of people. The Water Window will seek to support innovative solutions – or to scale up those that are already working – that fall within one or more focus areas of the Resilience Partnership overall:

  • technology
  • innovative financing, including risk transfer mechanisms
  • measurement & diagnostics (e.g. tools that enable better understanding problems and risk caused by water)
  • policy, and
  • learning & innovation (including community practices that enhance awareness, education, engagement, female empowerment, and action orientation).

Zurich will look specifically for innovations aimed at enhancing flood resilience in line with its global flood resilience program launched in 2013. The funding is provided by the Z Zurich Foundation.

The Water Window’s goal is to identify and realize strong solutions that will be shared through an open learning platform. Zurich and other corporations joining the Water Window will be part of the challenge’s assessment, selection and development processes. KPMG East Africa Limited, the implementing partner of the first Global Resilience Challenge, will also be the implementing partner of the Water Window, handling all administrative and operational issues.

Beyond the Water Window, Zurich will play an active role in the Resilience Partnership by contributing its market-leading resilience measurement expertise, engaging on finding optimal financing solutions, or supporting the development and implementation of public policy.

Chief Executive Officer Martin Senn said: “Water is one of the most critical development challenges we face today. Tens of millions of people struggle to gain access to clean drinking water every day, a shortage of water is limiting economic growth in many countries, while flooding affects more people each year than any other form of natural disaster. At Zurich, we believe we have a responsibility to use our expertise in insurance and risk management to help communities and households build resilience against such globally interconnected risks. With the commitment of USD 10 million we will build on the progress of our flood resilience program. We invite other companies to join us in the water resilience challenge, where there are a host of issues to focus on beyond floods.”

“Crisis is the new normal, and with so much of the world’s population living on or near water, flooding is often the source of crises,” said Dr. Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “The Global Resilience Partnership is leading the charge to build resilience across the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and South and Southeast Asia, and Zurich is an excellent addition because of the expertise they can lend to spur innovation in building resilience to flooding. We look forward to welcoming other corporations to the Resilience Partnership, because when communities are resilient, so too are businesses. That’s part of the dividend of investing in resilience.”

About the Global Resilience Partnership

The Global Resilience Partnership aims to help millions of vulnerable people in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and South and Southeast Asia better adapt to shocks and chronic stresses and invest in a more resilient future. With an initial commitment of USD 150 million, this new Resilience Partnership will help the global community pivot from being reactive in the wake of disaster to driving evidence-based investments that enable cities, communities, and households to better manage and adapt to inevitable shocks.

Download the press release here.