© DEPP Innovation Labs, A village in the Philippines conducting a preparedness drill

Swiss Re foundation announces funding to support early humanitarian action in the Philippines and across the world

Rya Ducusin


Time to read: 3 minutes

Swiss Re Foundation, the social value arm of one of the world's leading providers of reinsurance, has announced new funding to support a global network of NGOs to scale up early humanitarian action in the Philippines. Start Network will also use the grant to enable its members to access funding through its newest financing mechanism, Start Ready.

Swiss Re Foundation’s pledge to scale up the disaster risk financing system in the Philippines through Start Ready will contribute towards enabling communities at-risk of tropical cyclones and secondary hazards to proactively anticipate these events. The US$700,000 in funding will support the build and development of Start Ready’s system in the Philippines and contribute towards prepositioned funds for communities’ protection before a crisis hits.

Start Network and its members have been working to shift traditional reactionary humanitarian systems to lessen the impact of typhoons in affected regions. The global move towards anticipatory action and DRF has also been well received in the Philippines, as this innovative approach continues to gain support internationally.

Philippines Disaster Risk Financing Coordinator, Arvin Caro, expresses his optimism about the state of DRF in the country. “The Start Network team in the Philippines is working double time to be ready in time for 2022’s cyclone season beginning in September. This support from Swiss Re Foundation will enable our partner communities to be better prepared even before a calamity hits.”

The 2021 Global Climate Risk Index classified the Philippines as the 17th most affected nation by extreme weather events. Facing an average of 20 typhoons each year, the pressing climate emergency continues to bring destructive weather occurrences to the archipelago, displacing millions of Filipino families.

Swiss Re Foundation director Stefan Huber highlights, “This project will test an innovative concept that takes principles that have been used in the insurance sector for decades, redesigning them for humanitarian action. The Start Ready financial mechanism establishes procedures for the rapid transfer of funds, enabling communities in the Philippines threatened by typhoons to take preventive measures days before they arrive. With our support, start-up funding will be provided to build the evidence needed to demonstrate the impact and effectiveness of anticipatory measures and a pooling mechanism that will allow Start Network to partner more widely with institutional humanitarian funders.”

Swiss Re Foundation is also contributing an additional US$200,000 to the global Start Ready pool, allowing Start Network members to access this fund when a mechanism is activated to deliver humanitarian response before a crisis starts. Start Ready currently covers risks of humanitarian disasters in six countries including: Pakistan, Bangladesh, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Philippines, Senegal, and Zimbabwe

Start Ready answers the Swiss Re Foundation’s call for innovative and scalable approaches to financial disaster risk protection. This partnership brings together both agencies’ aspirations to increase community resilience through early action in at-risk regions globally.