Each year, hundreds of millions of people are struck by sudden shocks, such as typhoons, storms, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis that destroy lives and livelihoods in an instant. Equally destructive are the slower chronic stresses, like rising temperatures and changing weather and disease patterns, which affect workers, water and food supplies, sometimes to the point of crisis.
The poor suffer the greatest setbacks in these situations, as they often lack the ability or resources to protect their lives and possessions. This comes at a cost to all of society, as experts estimate that nearly one-third of all development investments are lost to disasters.
“Disasters have been increasing in Asia because more people are in harm’s way without the means to protect their loved ones and their possessions,” said Michael Yates, Director of the 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.”
The Global Resilience Partnership will focus on South and Southeast Asia, the Sahel and the Horn of Africa—areas particularly susceptible to disasters or crises of all kinds.The Partnership funds will play a catalytic role, encouraging others to take action. By building on the good work already underway, the Partnership will provide incentives for the best minds to come together to devise solutions that will help families, communities, countries and regions manage disaster and climate risk to build stronger and more resilient futures. The Partnership will support ideas that leverage information and technology to ultimately save lives and livelihoods, as well as resources for when they are needed most.
“Investing in building resilience means that we will minimize the impact when disaster hits, and expedite the rebound,” said Ashvin Dayal, Associate Vice President and Managing Director, Asia of The Rockefeller Foundation. “This will yield what we call a “resilience dividend” – the difference where a community is after a shock when resilience investments have been made, compared to where it would be without such investments.”
The need for the Resilience Partnership is clear: The combination of environmental degradation, population growth and urbanization, coupled with the impact of climate change means more and more people could be at risk of disaster in the future. In the last 30 years, the number of weather-related disasters has tripled, and the cost is up 300 percent to $200 billion every year. While low-income countries were hit by only 9 percent of these disasters, they represented 48 percent of all fatalities.
An essential feature of the Global Resilience Partnership will be a competitive Resilience Challenge—a competition to attract the best ideas in each of the three focus regions. The Challenge will launch later this year and be open to multi-disciplinary teams from non-profits, academic institutions, government and the private sector.
For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, The Rockefeller Foundation pursues this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, The Rockefeller Foundation works at the intersection of four focus areas – advance health, revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities – to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot – or will not. To learn more, please visit www.rockefellerfoundation.org.
USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient societies to realize their potential. USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia is a regional office that implements programs and generates partnerships with government, civil society, private sector and regional institutions across 24 Asian nations to address critical development challenges in areas like the environment and natural resources management, disaster risk reduction and infectious diseases that cross national borders. Across the region, USAID also works to protect and empower vulnerable populations and to strengthen regional institutions to ensure that economic growth in Asia brings with it greater food security, environmental protections and gender equality in civil society. For more information, please visit: www.usaid.gov/asia-regional.