Over the last few years, an array of climate-related disasters around the world have resulted in massive human and economic costs, with huge loss of lives and hundreds-of-billions of dollars in damage to infrastructure, assets, and economic output. The floods in Thailand in late 2011 alone caused $45.7 billion in losses, and exposed the fragility of global supply chains in the process. Last year, Super Typhoon Haiyan is estimated to have cost the Philippines economy between $6.5 billion and $15 billion.
It has long been recognized that the private sector can and must play a significant role in helping to make our cities more resilient. Through the work of the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN), we have seen how a proactive private sector can add much needed momentum and relevance to resilience planning processes, as well as the implementation of specific projects.
Here’s a look at some innovative solutions developed through public-private partnerships that are being piloted by The Rockefeller Foundation:
Disease detecting mobile application
Through partnerships with Bosch and G.V. Meditech in India, a non-invasive mobile application is being developed to detect vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue. Community and user-driven surveillance will be increasingly important as formal public health monitoring systems struggle to cope with unpredictable shifts in disease patters. This technology will allow early detection g and help patients to track symptoms in an accessible, accurate, and affordable way. Healthcare providers, including public health workers, will also be able to further diagnose and confirm the disease. It is being piloted in Varanasi and Gorakhpur where stagnant water and flooding have led to an increase in vector and water-borne diseases.
Indoor thermal cooling roofs
In the Indian cities of Surat and Indore, climate change scenarios indicate a rise in temperatures of around two-to-three degrees Celsius over the coming decades. With increasing global temperatures, heat stress is a potential threat to the productivity and safety of workforces. Collaborations in the two cities among local governments, private sector, and a local NGO are developing low-cost ways to manage extreme heat. Working with the construction and real estate sector, cool roofs are being designed and installed to build greener and more energy-efficient buildings, especially for lower income housing projects where families cannot respond to heat stress by simply adding costly air conditioners. Adopting low cost cool roof technologies can help lower air temperatures and reduce heat- and smog-related health issues, such as heat stroke and asthma. After one retrofit to a government building, it has been reported that the ceiling surface temperature decreased by an average of 2.2 degrees Celsius.
Storm resilient housing
In early October 2013, Typhoon Nari left many in Da Nang without power or shelter. It caused $41 million in damages, including $4.6 million in damages to homes. Access to quality housing has the potential to help build resilience of the urban poor against severe shocks like flooding and storms.
In partnership with the Da Nang Women’s Union, an innovative credit facility program was established that provided loans and technical know-how for poor households to upgrade their homes and protect them from natural disasters. All 244 storm-resilient houses supported by this scheme weathered the storm without serious damage, unlike thousands of other houses that sadly had not yet benefited from these upgrades.
For more information on how businesses can surface innovative solutions through products or services to build resilience for poor and vulnerable communities, check out this Intellecap report supported by The Rockefeller Foundation.