The project will draw upon in-house experts at IIASA, scientific networks, NGOs, and academic partnerships to build and share knowledge and expertise around flood resilience. The aim is to enhance community flood resilience at scale and thereby inform the public policy agenda. Financial support is provided by the Zürich Foundation, which will develop and provide a perspective on appropriate risk transfer solutions in flood-prone areas, as well as describe what the prerequisites for such solutions to function.
The research partnership will address the following topics:
- Identifying and addressing research gaps on flood resilience using the community-based disaster risk reduction (CBDRR) approach. The aim is to understand where the most meaningful impact can be made, given Zürich’s core competencies of insurance and risk management.
- Demonstrating the benefits of pre-event risk reduction over post-event disaster relief. This involves understanding what methodologies (for example, cost-benefit analysis) and tools can support decision making on optimal investment of funds for disaster risk management. Practitioners often say that for every $1 invested in disaster risk reduction, $4-7 is saved in response. Such figures are promising although inconsistent. This inconsistency may be due to the fact that risk-reduction investments vary widely around the world, as do the benefits and costs of specific measures (depending on location, economic factors, type of hazard, how benefits are measured, etc.). They thus often lack a unifying methodology responding to the specific decision contexts and actors. A key challenge to be tackled therefore is the (lack of) robustness of benefit calculations.
- Improving understanding of barriers to more effective physical and financial resilience to floods in order to design appropriate alternatives. Simply because a specific risk reduction measure yields a positive return over a certain period of time is no guarantee that it will be implemented. Understanding the barriers to adopting such measures is thus critical so that solutions can be proposed that have a chance of being implemented.
- Improving public dialog around flood resilience and disaster resilience. This would involve understanding, influencing, supporting, and disseminating the development of good practices on flood resilience techniques and the role of insurance in public policy. An important component of the RESIM partnership will be to foster this dialog with key stakeholders from the public and private sectors, legislators, NGOs, international organizations, research institutions, and civil society.