Asia Biz News - Asian Business News and Tenders
Winners Named in Competition to Deal with Flooding in Most Vulnerable Regions
March 17, 2017
The winners of a U.S. $10 million competition pool to tackle flooding in some of the world's most vulnerable communities have been announced. Winning teams have been selected to solve problems in Southeast Asia, Kenya and the Horn of Africa.
The partnership between the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP) and Z Zurich Foundation of Zurich Insurance, sees grants of up to US$1m awarded to teams offering innovative solutions to issues affecting flood-prone communities in the Sahel, Horn of Africa and South and Southeast Asia.
Almost 400 initial Challenge entries were whittled down to a final 12 solutions considered to have the greatest potential impact.
Successful teams span the globe, with winners from North America, Europe, South and Southeast Asia, and the Horn of Africa. They will tackle issues on the ground in Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Kenya with solutions ranging from flood-resilient roads to amphibious homes and protective coastal greenbelts.
The Challenge is backed by a US$10 million commitment from the Z Zurich Foundation to ensure a range of locally-informed, technologically savvy flood solutions are given the opportunity they need to succeed – or fail – quickly.
Those which demonstrate real change will be looked at for rapid scaling to benefit as many people as possible in multiple locations.
The solutions put forward come from a wide range of applicant teams, including academics and organizations on the ground who have used their own experience and indigenous knowledge to find solutions to problems they repeatedly face.
David Nash, foundation manager at Z Zurich Foundation, said: “For the last four years, Zurich has embarked on a journey to help communities build resilience through our Flood Resilience Program, combining the insurance sector’s risk management expertise with grassroots community engagement.
Currently 87% of disaster-related funding is spent on relief and recovery. Our goal is to instead shift funding towards resilience building pre-event. The Water Window Challenge is a prime example of this and works to find innovative solutions to recurring flood problems, allowing communities to eventually thrive in the face of floods.“Currently 87% of disaster-related funding is spent on relief and recovery. Our goal is to instead shift funding towards resilience building pre-event. The Water Window Challenge is a prime example of this and works to find innovative solutions to recurring flood problems, allowing communities to eventually thrive in the face of floods.”
Luca Alinovi, executive director of the Global Resilience Partnership, said: “Flooding is the number one natural hazard, accounting for 47% of all weather-related disasters. It causes more damage worldwide than any other natural disaster and causes some of the largest economic, social and humanitarian losses. Over the last 20 years, flooding has affected more than 2.3 billion people, 95% of whom live in Asia. Clearly, this is an issue which is crying out for a different approach.
“Traditional humanitarian relief approaches will be activated after a flood and provide emergency food, housing and infrastructure. Development actors phase in post the initial crisis and try to rebuild local and national infrastructure assets before the next disaster strikes. This cycle of disaster, recovery, repeat does not build long term stability or prosperity.
“GRP believes that a resilience approach, where we not only look to pre-empt shocks and support people to persist through crisis, but actively seek to transform crisis into opportunity, is the only way for long term poverty alleviation.
Through the Challenge, we are able to mobilise communities, the world’s best experts and researchers to innovate, challenge the norm and benefit millions of people.”