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Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance

Practical Action is proud to be a member of the 'Global Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance', which aims to save the lives and livelihoods of the most poor by preventing floods from becoming disasters.  By working with diverse organisations and experts we will magnify our reach and effectiveness and become global leaders in enhancing community resilience to floods both in terms of technical knowledge and practice.

Over 5 years, the alliance aims to enhance flood resilience in 15 communities in at least 3 countries and directly improve the livelihood of 100,000 individuals.

Beyond response and recovery: an introduction to the Zurich flood resilience program

An overview of the global challenges caused by flooding and how we are tackling them through the work of the Zurich flood resilience alliance.

Partnership

The Insurance firm Zurich has brought together a wide range of actors; INGO's Practical Action and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), alongside knowledge partners the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria and the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center (Wharton) in the United States.

Diagram showing connections between Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance project partners Zurich Global Reach Wharton IIASA Practical Action

What will Practical Action do?

Practical Action provides technical innovation on the ground in challenging environments, as well as the mechanisms for sharing learning from those innovations. We also have a robust track record in disaster preparedness activities. Our involvement will therefore help to strengthen and refine the alliance and its ability to support vulnerable communities.

Our approach is guided by our Vulnerability to Resistance framework, known as V2R. This framework sets out key factors that contribute to peoples' vulnerability: exposure to hazards and stresses; fragile livelihoods; future uncertainty; and weak governance. It provides detailed explanations of the linkages between these factors as well as ideas for action to strengthen resilience.

Where will we work?

Nepal is among the 20 most disaster-prone countries in the world  and faces almost every type of flood, including flash floods, river floods and glacial lake outburst floods. Add to this the impact of climate change and the challenge in Nepal is significantly amplified with glacial melting and changing weather patterns increasing flood frequency, intensity and unpredictability.

To address this Practical Action will: 

Integrate climate change and climate extremes into resilience activities

We are learning how to facilitate communities, local institutions and policy-makers to interpret what climate change research is telling us, and make responsive decisions that build climate resilience into early warning systems and livelihood-based disaster risk reduction.

Facilitate technological innovation in early warning:

Practical Action is leading innovation in lengthening lead times, to provide greater early warning to at risk communities. The programme seeks to combine research, community development and risk expertise, with network reach to strengthen capacity and increase resilience of communities so that they can better assess, manage and recover from shocks. The learning and outcomes of the programme will also be used to shape and improve global tools for identifying and assessing flood resilience in communities around the world. We shall explore the use of weather forecasting for  water basin modelling to create better early warning systems incorporating  rainfall-to-run-off dynamics.

Combine supply and value chain analysis with community assessment:

Practical Action plans to bring together its disaster risk reduction work with its market system development expertise to research and test how the identification, assessment, promotion and protection of key supply and value chains can enhance flood risk reduction, preparedness and response. This area of work will build on Practical Action’s leading Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis (EMMA) and Participatory Market System Development (PMSD) approaches.

Prove the case for investment in risk reduction over response:

Practical Action has a catalogue of in-action solutions. This provides rich source material for research into the costs and benefits of structural and non-structural measures to mitigation.

Nepal flood resilience project

The goal of this project, part of the Zurich Global Flood Resilience Programme, is to build resilience of poor and vulnerable communities in Nepal with improvements measured using a resilience measurement framework together with documenting the best practices and lessons learnt.

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Manual for Mock Flood Response Exercise with Early Warning System (English)

This booklet (in English) gives guidelines about mock flood exercises for flood response based on early warning systems. These guidelines have been prepared based on the experience and learning of carrying out mock flood exercises in communities for almost a decade. Mock exercises enhance the capacity of communities and humanitarian actors alike, thereby reducing the loss of life and property significantly. Practical Action works on flood early warning systesm in collaboration with organizations such as the Nepal Red Cross Society, government bodies, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This publication assists actors and facilitators to develop their skills and facilitate such exercises to enhance community resilience. It is necessary to contextualize the steps, process and scenarios based on local hazards, vulnerability, risks and available capacity in terms of tools and equipment. However, the steps and processes mentioned herein will be useful to all actors and facilitators. A Nepali translation version is also available.

Manual for Mock Flood Response Exercise with Early Warning System (Nepali)

This booklet (in Nepali language) gives guidelines about mock flood exercises for flood response based on early warning systems. These guidelines have been prepared based on the experience and learning of carrying out mock flood exercises in communities for almost a decade. Mock exercises enhance the capacity of communities and humanitarian actors alike, thereby reducing the loss of life and property significantly. Practical Action works on flood early warning systesm in collaboration with organizations such as the Nepal Red Cross Society, government bodies, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This publication assists actors and facilitators to develop their skills and facilitate such exercises to enhance community resilience. It is necessary to contextualize the steps, process and scenarios based on local hazards, vulnerability, risks and available capacity in terms of tools and equipment. However, the steps and processes mentioned herein will be useful to all actors and facilitators. An English translation version is also available.

Nepal CBA8 poster

Poster produced for CBA8 conference. Related to Zurich partnership and Flood resilience in Nepal.

Bangladesh sits at the cross-road of three major rivers: the Ganges (Padma in Bangladesh), the Brahmaputra (Jamuna in Bangladesh) and the Meghna. In a normal year, over 20% of the country experiences flooding during the monsoon and this can rise to around 60% in a major flood year. Despite the high occurence of flooding, those who live along the riverbanks have limited access to resilient livelihood options, knowledge or local level planning.

To address this Practical Action will:

  • Pilot the best practices and innovations for vulnerability assessments by local governments and strengthen the skilled volunteers to support the resilience of the community. 
  • Secure access for the community to information on climate resilience and learning through institutional innovation. Including establishing weather and flood forecasting systems. 
  • Improve governance and elevate the role of community led initiatives. 
  • Form an active national level 'Flood Resilience Learning Group' to capture and disseminate knowledge. 

From Vulnerability to Resilience (V2R+)

The V2R+ Project of Bangladesh is a part of Zurich Insurance Group’s Global Flood Resilience Programme. It aims to improve the resilience of 60,000 flood-vulnerable households in two districts of Bangladesh.

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Bangladesh CBA8 Poster

Produced for the 8th conference on community-based adaptation to climate change

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Peru faces a range of natural hazards each year and the presence of the El Niño Phenomenon creates unique flood related challenges. To tackle these hazards the government of Peru introduced a new DRR law in 2011, which outlines new responsibilities for local government to deliver on risk reduction.

This new law has mobilised the political will to invest in DRR activities, however they lack the capacity and skills to implement and innovate.

To address this Practical Action will:

Supporting the strengthening of policy and the guidelines for implementation, especially to cover El Nino conditions and the El Nino vulnerable population.  El Nino events typically result in costs amounting to 12% of GDP and thus are a major limitation on domestic growth.

Work with communities to help improve their flood resilience and raise their voice in the municipal decision making process. Many infrastructure initiatives are planned to control the river, these will have a huge impact on the many poor communities along the river.

Improve Early Warning Systems and ensure that they reflect the technical and communication needs of affected communities and the policy support to integrate them effectively.  

Research the relationship between rains, flooding and food prices. Every year in the rainy season, food price rises in the city due to access to food being reduced and food storage losses. Practical Action proposes to research this complex scenario and work with municipal government to explore alternative access roads to mitigate price rises due to loss of access, this will  require a revision of the infrastructure planning approach to make transportation more resilient to flooding.  

Peru CBA8 poster

Produced for the 8th conference on community-based adaptation to climate change

Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance factsheet

Zurich and Practical Action team up in a global flood resilience alliance

Practical Action and Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) have formed a significantly enhanced £6.4 million alliance in building community resilience to disasters, especially flooding which affects more people globally than any other natural hazard.

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CBA8 Report

Report from the 8th Conference on Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change

Open tender for "Household Economic Analysis in Peru, Nepal and Bangladesh”

This is an announcement for an open tender process for the above mentioned supply contract. Please submit an Expression of Interest by close of business on the 8th July 2015.

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Public Forum 16 March 2015 - WCDRR, Sendai

Join us at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai to challenge the lessons that the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance is learning about building resilience. We hope you will join this energetic and highly interactive session to contribute with your ideas and innovations to build the resilience of poor and high risk communities to the ever increasing hazard of floods.

Urgent Case for Recovery: What can we learn from the August 2014 Karnali River floods in Nepal

As part of Zurich’s flood resilience program, the post event review capability (PERC) provides research and independent reviews of large flood events. It seeks to answer questions related to aspects of flood resilience, flood risk management and catastrophe intervention. It looks at what has worked well (identifying best practice) and opportunities for further improvements. The bigger picture that emerges from the 2014 floods in Nepal can be applied more universally: long-term thinking and addressing chronic problems that increase hazards should be part of the picture to get beyond relief efforts. Much work is still needed to save individuals, families and entire communities from the devastation of floods. This PERC analysis was written by ISET International, ISET-Nepal, Practical Action Nepal and Zurich.

Practical Action recognised as leading example of action against climate change at COP20

For the second year in a row, Practical Action has received a UNFCC Lighthouse Activity award. This year, Practical Action was recognised with others in the Zurich Flood Resilience Program for an innovative initiative that aims to save the lives and livelihoods of poor and vulnerable communities by preventing floods from becoming disasters.

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BITC award nomination

The Global Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance program has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2015 Business In The Community (BITC) awards.

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