So much investment in development is weakened or wiped out by shocks and stresses—natural and manmade. Indeed, one-in-three dollars spent on development is lost to disaster, requiring huge expenditures in relief and humanitarian aid.
Work by The Rockefeller Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has independently and decisively shown that building resilience reduces the likelihood that severe disruption becomes disaster, enabling communities and institutions to rebound faster and more effectively. Over the last decade, The Rockefeller Foundation has funded or committed more than a half-billion dollars to help cities and rural communities build their social, economic, and climate resilience.
We’ve seen two things happen.
One, we know that building resilience means that less is required to be spent on disaster recovery and relief. Second, we have shown that the investment in resilience building can yield an economic and social benefit for individuals and communities before the shock and stresses hit.
Both of these—disaster mitigation and everyday co-benefits—make up what we call the “resilience dividend.” To achieve the resilience dividend for more people in more places, we need a new approach that effectively captures and aligns the strengths of humanitarian and development assistance.
That is the impetus for convening the Global Resilience Partnership, with an initial investment of $100 million by The Rockefeller Foundation and USAID, which will work to coordinate resources, scale innovations, and engage new actors in three geographies vulnerable to shocks: the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and South and Southeast Asia.
The first feature of the Resilience Partnership will be the launch of a multi-phase resilience design challenge, focused on bringing people and organizations from a diverse set of industries together to collaborate on bold and innovative solutions to the toughest resilience challenges facing the three focus regions.
Multi-sector and multi-disciplinary teams will research and diagnose problems collectively, then develop viable, locally-driven, and high-impact solutions that can build resilience at scale. We anticipate opening the challenge in September. In each region, teams will be part of a regional hub, which will also comprise innovators and experts who will collaborate to inspire new thinking and ideas.
A second feature comprises predictive analytics that will offer tools for strengthened decision-making. This might include crowd-sourced data collection, vulnerability and crisis mapping, and a set of early warning systems. Predictive modeling, for example, can generate compelling evidence and catalyze financing toward resilience dividends.
A third feature will include new streams of flexible financing to increase the support for innovative practices. One such product that we are exploring is a resilience impact bond, which would pay for improved resilience outcomes, or an expansion of risk insurance or rapid micro-lending facilities.
The Partnership is not looking to replicate the good work that’s already underway—instead we aim to catalyze new innovation and scale what is already working.
We seek a true partnership that comprises civil society, other donors, governments, companies, and a range of others who are interested in infusing resilience thinking throughout global development investments to drive a paradigm shift, and realize the resilience dividend—whether it’s more effective diplomacy, more streamlined use of tax dollars, or greater impact of development aid.
In USAID, The Rockefeller Foundation could not have asked for a better co-convener to spearhead this exciting effort. We look forward to getting this off the ground, and will have more exciting announcements in the weeks to come.