Earlier this month, The Rockefeller Foundation announced the $100 million Global Resilience Partnershipwith the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)—a bold new vision for building resilience to disasters, food insecurity, and other chronic stresses that contribute to poverty in communities across Africa and Asia.
At a press briefing in Asia last week, Ashvin Dayal, Rockefeller Foundation associate vice president and managing director for Asia, remarked, “We face a new reality where disasters and shocks are coming faster and harder, throwing vulnerable populations into crisis year after year.”
In Asia, an estimated 400 million people will be vulnerable to flooding by 2025. Equally severe are the slower onset stresses such as increasingly scarce water, heat stress affecting worker productivity, and unpredictable rainfall patterns that are compounding vulnerabilities and impacting Asia’s poorest populations.
“The work of USAID and The Rockefeller Foundation in some of the world’s most vulnerable regions shows that building resilience reduces the likelihood that stresses, or sudden disruptions, will turn into a disaster.” said Dayal.
The Rockefeller Foundation and USAID aim to help millions realize the resilience dividend, a concept that allows individuals, communities, and countries to prepare for, quickly recover from, and bounce back from sudden shocks and chronic stresses.
“We can’t prevent typhoons or earthquakes, but we can work smarter to minimize impacts on families and communities, and prevent serious setbacks on hard-won development gains,” said Michael Yates, Director of USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia. “To change this, we will build networks through this Partnership and solicit the best ideas from local government, the private sector and civil society, so that our collective investments will protect lives and livelihoods.”
In September, the Partnership will help identify, scale-up, and accelerate promising approaches, unlock new partnerships, and build upon the work of others by launching a multi-phase Resilience Challenge, inviting multi-sector and multi-disciplinary teams to submit innovative solutions. Winning solutions will be funded to implement and scale their projects.
Ashvin also highlighted three key areas that show high potential in catalyzing resilience breakthroughs: predictive analytics and technologies, measurement and metrics, and innovative financing.
Predictive analytics and technologies will provide tools for strengthened decision-making. For example, a data platform that can forecast where the greatest crop damage and livestock loss in advance of a storm. This would help to better predict crises and help disburse payments immediately after the shock, so farmers would not be forced to sell precious assets.
Advancing measurement and metrics will help provide compelling evidence to decision-makers to justify resilience investments.
And flexible financing mechanisms will also increase support for innovative practices by, for example, financing that supports storm-resistant housing upgrades for low-income households in vulnerable coastal areas.