Why invest in flood resilience?
The majority of flood spending globally is on post-event recovery – when it is most costly and least efficient – rather than pre-event resilience where lives, livelihoods, and assets can be saved.
By investing more in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation, we could reduce costs and losses as well as save lives. Every US dollar invested in prevention has been documented to save on average five dollars in future losses.
Despite increasing recognition of the value of ex-ante investment, funding for pre-event spending still falls short.
Donors must address barriers to increased ex-ante investments which include mismatched time frames between investment expectations, resilience outcomes, and political cycles; ambiguity regarding how investments might pay off; uncertainty about the accuracy of performance and cost-benefit data; and an asymmetry between those who pay and those who benefit.
We will always need humanitarian funding for unforeseen disasters. Humanitarian budgets must be protected while gaps in pre-event investment are filled. Disaster risk reduction activities which simultaneously help reduce humanitarian suffering, are cost effective, and an efficient use of funding (a win-win) must be more robustly funded.
Multiple dividends of investing in resilience
The benefits from investing in flood resilience are ample and include: protecting lives, reducing losses, enabling and protecting wider development, social, and environmental co-benefits. Highlighting the multiple benefits of resilience can increase buy-in, acceptability, and overall support for resilience-enhancing measures.
The triple dividend approach developed by the ODI, the World Bank, and the London School of Economics and Political Science allows you to systematically assess the benefits of reducing disaster losses (1st dividend), unlocking development potential (2nd dividend), and fostering wider social and environmental co-benefits (3rd dividend).
If you consider these multiple dividends of resilience building there is no such thing as a wasted investment, even if a disastrous flood doesn’t take place there are additional valuable benefits to consider.
Floods affect more people around the world than any other hazard and undermine countries’ progress towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
By incorporating resilient, climate-smart thinking into disaster risk management, climate change adaption, and development agendas, countries and donors can ensure that the SDGs are not undercut by the impacts of floods.
But what about COVID-19?
During a time when the Coronavirus pandemic has decimated economies, investments in resilience can have a powerful impact in rebuilding more resiliently. According to the Global Commission on Adaptation, investing $1.8 trillion globally in five areas from 2020 to 2030 could generate $7.1 trillion in total net benefits.
The Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance makes a case for considering resilience when responding to and recovering from the Coronavirus pandemic in our Building Back Better policy brief. You can also find out more about why we should invest in multi-hazard resilience here.
A few blogs making the case for flood resilience investment:
Floods affect more people globally than any other type of natural hazard, with over 734 million people affected by floods in the last ten years. Glo
Making the case for pre-event disaster risk reduction Large-scale flood disasters in recent years vividly demonstrate the need to invest in risk reduc
Floods, which affect more people around the world than any other hazard, are undermining countries’ progress towards reaching the Sustainable Deve