IDF partners with MapAction and Start Network to support their efforts in eight climate-vulnerable countries

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London: The Insurance Development Forum (IDF), a public-private partnership led by the insurance industry and supported by the UN, World Bank and other international organisations, announces today a trilateral partnership with MapAction and Start Network, to accelerate anticipatory action and disaster risk reduction in eight climate-vulnerable countries. The initiative represents IDF’s commitment to the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership (REAP), of which it is a member. 

Through this trilateral partnership, IDF industry members will support and fund the work of MapAction, which will deliver geospatial and information management services to help Start Network members to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to humanitarian emergencies with the right information for critical decision making. Enabling such anticipatory action and disaster risk reduction work through timely funding represents a first for the IDF and the partnership will run over three years. 

IDF is committed to contribute to REAP’s aim to make 1 billion people safer from disaster by 2025 and this initiative with MapAction and Start Network is part of that effort.  The organisations supporting and funding the IDF Anticipatory Action and Disaster Risk Reduction Initiative include Aon, AXA, AXIS Capital, Milliman, Willis Towers Watson, Swiss Re Foundation and the Zurich Insurance Group. 

Start Network – a global network of more than 50 humanitarian agencies – aims to connect frontline responders to risk data and finance, so they are better prepared to respond to crises at scale. It aims to achieve this through its new Start Ready risk finance programme, which was launched at CoP26.  

Start Network’s plan includes locally led anticipatory action systems and frameworks for enhanced coordination of disaster risk finance (DRF) nationally. The opportunity for early action and fast, effective response to disasters reduces the risk of deeper impacts on local communities. Access to up-to-date and easy-to-use data and information will be critical to its success.  

To assist in the initiative, MapAction, a global charity that specialises in providing data and mapping in advance of and during humanitarian emergencies, will provide Start Network’s members with geospatial data, visualisation, and information management capabilities.  These elements are essential for critical decision making, including finances, ahead of crises.  

Eight countries, to date expected to include Bangladesh, Kenya, Madagascar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal and Zimbabwe, will benefit from the initiative. The programme, which started in 2021, is planned to run until 2023.

Michel Liès, Chairman, Zurich Insurance Group, and Deputy Chair of the IDF Steering Committee, said: 

“The backbone of this IDF initiative, as highlighted by the work of Start Network, is to drive more effective humanitarian action by using an anticipatory approach to reduce the impact of disaster risks. MapAction’s support will enable earlier, faster and more efficient crisis response.  

As with any initiative of this nature, funding plays a crucial role, and thankfully, the collaborative efforts of IDF members will enable work to be carried out through timely funding to help reduce risks, and vitally, to provide local communities with the tools they need to prepare and plan for damaging events.  

This initiative is a milestone for the IDF in this area, and we are delighted to play a role in helping fund this project. It paves the way for us to initiate future projects too.” 

Liz Hughes, CEO of MapAction, commented: 

“We are very excited to be working on this project as we believe it can make a real and lasting difference for disaster affected populations. MapAction will provide the Start Network and its members with a combination of historical and real time hazard data analysis, vulnerability analysis, maps and more. By converting all of that into usable situational information and visualisations for critical early decision making, we can enable better informed humanitarian decisions, and ultimately save lives and reduce suffering.” 

Christina Bennett, CEO of Start Network, said: 

“Through risk and knowledge pooling, we know we can help save lives and livelihoods at a reduced cost, while empowering communities to make decisions about their own futures.  Start Ready is based on this goal; it is a structure for innovative crisis financing mechanisms to deliver more effective and locally led global humanitarian action.  

Over the years, we have found that humanitarian crises, from floods and cyclones, droughts and pandemics, tend to occur in regular patterns. As the re/insurance sector knows well, the data and technology exist to manage these risks at an aggregated level, and pilot projects have proved the benefit of anticipatory action. Now, with the collaborative efforts of MapAction together with the IDF members and their funding support, it is hoped we can build a shared financial infrastructure to ensure these funds go so much further.” 

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