- 18 September 2013
On the launch day of Swiss Re's new report Mind the Risk and ahead of the global re-insurer's high-level panel at Climate Week NYC, Mark Way, Head of Sustainability Americas, Swiss Re, writes about the urgent need for city leaders to mobilize resources to help urban communities prepare for and recover from the impacts of runaway climate change.
"The world experienced unprecedented high-impact climate extremes during the 2001-2010 decade," says the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in a recently published report.
The WMO weather experts say that these extremes have been characterized, among other things, by heavy rain and flooding. It cites the inundations in Eastern Europe, India, Africa, Pakistan and Australia.
Moreover, in the last 15 months or so, the list has gotten even longer with floods in Calgary, Canada, along the north-eastern seaboard of the United States and, most recently, in the US state of Colorado and in Mexico.
These events all seem to be chapters in a never-ending story.
And it is the city mayors and state governors of this world who are usually at the sharp end when it comes alleviating the human misery caused by such calamities.
These officials also have the job of mobilizing resources to expedite a community's economic recovery following a disaster.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christy or Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi could tell you all about it.
Given the urgent need to strengthen cities' ability to bounce back following natural disasters–more people now live in urban conurbations than anywhere else on the planet–Swiss Re's new publication entitled, Mind the Risk, has to be a must-read for all mayors and governors.
The publication's expert authors analyze the natural disaster risks to which the world's largest cities are exposed and, more importantly, suggest concrete ways they can successfully cope with the financial consequences of extreme events.
Apart from access to funding for relief, recovery and reconstruction measures, they also point out that Swiss Re offers solutions that help bridge the gap between economic and insured losses and reduce the financial burden on local communities.
Next week during the Opening Ceremony of Climate Week NYC 2013, reflecting one year on from Hurricane Sandy, Swiss Re and The Climate Group will host an event to explore how we can make cities more resilient to climate impacts in the future.
The session will explore efforts taken by governments, businesses and civil society over the past year to build more climate resilient communities. It will also identify additional measures that are needed going forward, emphasizing solutions that provide the greatest economic and social benefits.
We will be live tweeting during the event at @ClimateGroup and streaming the event live on our websites.