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Strengthening the commitment to the aim of the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership, IDF industry members launch an Anticipatory Action and Disaster Risk Reduction Initiative, funding a collaboration between MapAction and Start Network

London, Tuesday 15th February 2022: 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.” 


Notes to Editors 

About MapAction 

MapAction is a humanitarian organisation working worldwide to ensure that maps and data are available to key decision makers to get the right aid to the right places when it is needed most.  

Always seeking ways to improve the availability and use of geospatial and relevant data, MapAction also trains humanitarian personnel in the use of geospatial and data techniques and technologies, and increasingly works on anticipatory action. MapAction believes that applying geospatial and data expertise to humanitarian situations can greatly improve outcomes for the people affected. Around 80% of MapAction’s personnel are expert technical volunteers. 

As well as helping countries, organisations and responders to prepare for humanitarian emergencies in advance, MapAction’s team is ready to respond in-country, remotely or both, to anywhere in the world. MapAction is independent and relies upon a combination of grants and donations to do its work. 

For more information, please visit

About Start Network 

Start Network is made up of more than 50 humanitarian agencies across five continents, ranging from large international organisations to national NGOs. Together, our aim is to transform humanitarian action through innovation, fast funding, early action, and locally led action.

We’re tackling what we believe are the biggest systemic problems that the sector faces – problems including slow and reactive funding, centralised decision-making, and an aversion to change, which means that people affected by crises around the world do not receive the best help fast enough, and needless suffering results. 

For more information, please visit: 

About the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership

Launched at the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019, the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership (REAP) brings together an unprecedented range of stakeholders across the climate, humanitarian and development communities with the aim of making 1 billion people safer from disaster by 2025. It aims to mobilise commitments and inspire action to scale up the use of anticipatory approaches, driving a systemic shift towards acting earlier to reduce the impacts of disasters.

For more information, please visit:

About the IDF  

The Insurance Development Forum (IDF) is a public-private partnership led by the insurance industry and supported by international organisations, including the United Nations and the World Bank. 

It was established to facilitate and support the growth and development of insurance-related resources and capabilities to help achieve the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and related United Nations (UN) Agreements, collectively herein known as the U.N. Global 2030 Agenda. 

The IDF aims to optimise and extend the use of insurance and its related risk management capabilities to build greater resilience and protection for people, communities, businesses, and public institutions that are vulnerable to disasters and their associated economic shocks.  

Through its broad membership of insurance sector, governmental and other international institutions, the IDF enables: 

  • The optimal coordination of insurance-related activities; 
  • The development of shared priorities; 
  • The mobilisation of resources; 
  • The promotion of strategic and operational relationships within and between governments, industry, and international institutions; and 
  • Safeguards the integrity and effectiveness of joint efforts and collective resources. 

For more information please visit:  

PR Contacts 

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15th February, 2022