Zurich’s flood resilience program wins UN award

The secretariat of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has recognized Zurich’s flood resilience program as an outstanding example of efforts to address climate change and its impacts. The UNFCC’s decision to name Zurich’s program as a 2014 Momentum for Change ‘Lighthouse Activity’ highlights our work to improve resilience to floods through our collaborate alliance.

Momentum for Change singles out projects that are moving the world toward a highly resilient, low-carbon future. Activities deemed to be the most transformational are designated Lighthouse Activities, honoring them as innovative solutions to address climate change and wider economic, social and environmental challenges.


Zurich’s flood resilience program received an award in the category of ‘Financing for Climate Friendly Investments.’ This distinction underscores our vision to provide a new type of collaboration across sectors. Our approach draws on our expertise as an insurer, in-depth research by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and community-based disaster risk reduction programs led by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and international development organization Practical Action.


Zurich and our alliance partners will receive the award at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP20 meeting in Lima, Peru in December.


Through our flood resilience program, we hope to improve public awareness and dialogue around flood resilience at a national, regional and global level: We aim to influence policy decisions that ensure and enhance flood risk management frameworks to the greater benefit of society. With our research we have found good evidence that risk transfer through insurance and other financial mechanisms is more effective than post-disaster relief. However, it is important to note that the insurance industry’s ability to effectively and efficiently contribute to flood prevention and recovery is largely determined by government policy decisions and the physical, economic and regulatory environment in which insurers operate.

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