At the first ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit that took place earlier this year, the Rockefeller Foundation announced that it was making a $100 million commitment to the Global Resilience Partnership. Rockefeller isn’t alone in this worldwide initiative. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA) have joined in on the effort. Now the initiative is gaining more international steam with the involvement of the Zurich Insurance Group. Zurich is the partnership’s first private-sector member.
The philanthropic arm of Zurich Insurance, the Z Zurich Foundation has provided a $10 million investment to launch the partnership’s Global Resilience Challenge Water Window. The Water Window is a grant-based competition that will support organizations that are working on innovative solutions to the world’s water problems. The program is broad in scope and focuses on five areas of interest related to water, including technology, innovative financing, policymaking, and education and awareness.
Zurich plans to be an active participant in the grantmaking process, concentrating its efforts on seeking out innovative solutions to building flood resilience. The company will also contribute to the partnership by providing expertise in resilience measurement and offering support in the development and implementation of public policy.
Rockefeller recently awarded a sizable $18.7 million grant to KPMG East Africa to mobilize operational functions for the Global Resilience Partnership. KPMG will continue to take the lead role here and will act as the implementing partner for the Water Window program.
Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin puts the logic behind the Global Resilience Partnership in simple terms—“Crisis is the new normal”—and water scarcity is a protracted crisis that is becoming increasingly acute. Of course, the problem of billions of people without access to safe drinking water has existed for decades, making water scarcity a long-standing global development issue. But with climate change, droughts, and growing population pressures, this problem is getting even worse.
The overall goal of the Global Resilience Partnership is to prepare some of the most vulnerable regions of the world to build resilience to chronic stresses and shocks both manmade and natural. In these beginning stages, the partnership is focusing on scaling innovative solutions to resilience in Sahel, Horn of Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.