The growing rate at which the world is experiencing recurring shocks and chronic stresses is alarming. Natural disasters such as hurricanes and typhoons are not only increasing in frequency, but they are increasing in magnitude as well. In fact, from 1980 to 2009, the Borgen Project reported that there was an 80 percent increase in the number of “climate related disasters.” Recurring shocks and stresses aren’t always weather related and those due to conflict and disease are on the uptick as well.
From infrastructure to data security, there are a lot of moving parts when building resilience to disasters. And for the most part, the Rockefeller Foundation has tapped leaders in their fields—like GlobalAgRisk—when it comes to discovering innovative solutions to some of the most pronounced disaster resilience challenges.
The Rockefeller Foundation recently awarded a $700,000 grant to GlobalAgRisk, which is using the funds for the development of a financial disaster risk management (FDRM) program related to microfinance investments and networks in Africa, Asia, Georgia, and South America. Although the grant marks the first time the firm has received from Rockefeller, the agricultural research and development company has an established history of grant support from the Ford and Gates foundations.
The Rockefeller Foundation is one of the few NGOs dialed in to helping the world better prepare for acute shocks such as natural disasters and terrorist attacks, as well as chronic stresses like high unemployment, violence, and water shortages. In 2014, the foundation invested $100 million and joined up with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to help further its disaster resilience agenda by forming the Global Resilience Partnership. The partnership is initially concentrating its efforts on specific disasters such as food insecurity due to droughts in Sahel and the Horn of Africa and flooding in South and Southeast Asia.
Building disaster resilience, in all of its facets, has been a key area of focus of Rockefeller’s work for a number of years—especially regions with large vulnerable populations. Of course, natural and manmade disasters don’t only target least developed countries. The foundation is aware of this fact and operates on the basis that the resilience work it is conducting in areas of the world in which it considers to have “high resilience needs,” will be replicated and scaled in parts of the world where the current need may not be as high. The overarching principle here is that the entire world, and not just parts of it, will be better prepared when disaster inevitably strikes.