Supporting climate risk management at scale. Insights from the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance partnership model applied in Peru & Nepal

Reinhard Mechler, Colin Mcquistan, Ian McCallum, Wei Lu, Adriana Keating, Piotr Magnuszewski, Thomas Schinko, Finn Laurien, Stefan Hochrainer-Stigler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


There has been increasing interest in the potential of effective science -society partnership models for identifying and implementing options that manage critical disaster risks “on the ground.” This particularly holds true for debate around Loss and Damage . Few documented precedents and little documented experience exists, however, for such models of engagement. How to organise such partnerships? What are learnings from existing activities and how can these be upscaled? We report on one such partnership, the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance, a multi-actor partnership launched in 2013 to enhance communities ’ resilience to flooding at local to global scales. The program brings together the skills and expertise of NGOs, the private sector and research institutions in order to induce transformational change for managing flood risks. Working in a number of countries facing different challenges and opportunities the program uses a participatory and iterative approach to develop sustainable portfolios of interventions that tackle both flood risk and development objectives in synergy. We focus our examination on two cases of Alliance engagement, where livelihoods are particularly being eroded by flood risk , including actual and potential contributions by climate change : (i) in the Karnali river basin in West Nepal, communities are facing rapid on-set flash floods during the monsoon season; (ii) in the Rimac basin in Central Peru communities are exposed to riverine flooding amplified by El Niño episodes. We show how different tools and methods can be co-generated and used at different learning stages and across temporal and agency scales by researchers and practitioners. Seamless integration is neither possible, nor desirable, and in many instances, an adaptive management approach through, what we call, a Shared Resilience Learning Dialogue, can provide the boundary process that connects the different analytical elements developed and particularly links those up with community-led processes. Our critical examination of the experience from the Alliance leads into suggestions for identifying novel funding and support models involving NGOs, researchers and the private sector working side by side with public sector institutions to deliver community level support for managing risks that may go “beyond adaptation .”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLoss and Damage from Climate Change
Subtitle of host publicationConcepts, Methods and Policy Options
EditorsReinhard Mechler, Laurens M. Bouwer, Thomas Schinko, Swenja Surminski, JoAnne Linerooth-Bayer
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9783319720265
ISBN (Print)9783319720258
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameClimate Risk Management, Policy and Governance
ISSN (Print)2510-1390
ISSN (Electronic)2510-1404


  • Flood risk
  • Resilience
  • Science-society partnerships
  • Boundary objects
  • Adaptive management
  • Learning

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