UK government & World Bank launch challenge fund
The World Bank Group, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) have joined forces to launch a new fund.
The fund aims to help spur new and inventive approaches and approaches to help developing countries design and implement ground-breaking solutions to overcome problems they face assessing disaster risks.
In its first phase, the challenge fund will provide between $20,000 and $150,000 for up to 20 projects.
"Finding new ways to use technological innovation to empower communities to build their own solutions to the risk of disasters has proven effective from Nepal to New Orleans," said Rachel Kyte, World Bank Group vice president and special envoy for climate change. "We hope this challenge fund can further spread innovation."
Desmond Swayne, minister, international development, UK, added: “The technology to help developing countries prepare for disasters is getting better every day. Early warning systems saved thousands of lives when Cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh in 2007, aid workers in Haiti used crowd-sourcing software to find people after the 2010 earthquake, and weather forecasting expertise is helping the Philippines predict and prepare for catastrophes like Typhoon Haiyan.
“World-class innovations and data tools can save lives but global investment in these new technologies remains far too low and is not keeping pace with the growing risk countries face. That is why Britain is backing the best new ideas to help the world’s most vulnerable people limit the devastating cost of natural disasters,” he added.
Francis Ghesquiere, manager, GFDRR, said: “We have great examples of where ‘disruptive innovation’ has transformed our lives, the internet being a classic example. In this field, we have seen the potential for crowdsourcing and participatory mapping sky-rocket, with governments around the world embracing the power of the crowd to collect data on schools, roads, refugee camps and so on. Datasets that would otherwise take years and millions of dollars to collect.”