News / Asia

US Foundation, Government Agency Take Aim at Poverty in Asia and Africa

Ashvin Dayal, Associate VP and Asia Managing Director, The Rockefeller Foundation (left) looks over his notes as USAID Asia Regional Development Mission Director Michael Yates at launch of Global Resilience Partnership, Aug. 19, 2014. (Steve Herman/VOA News)
Ashvin Dayal, Associate VP and Asia Managing Director, The Rockefeller Foundation (left) looks over his notes as USAID Asia Regional Development Mission Director Michael Yates at launch of Global Resilience Partnership, Aug. 19, 2014. (Steve Herman/VOA News)

An American foundation and a U.S. government agency have announced a new partnership, which has initial funding of $100,000,000 intended as a “bold, new vision” for building resilience to disasters and other factors contributing to poverty across Asia and Africa. 

Data showing that one of every three dollars spent on international aid during the past 30 years has been lost because of recurring crises is prompting a new initiative to break the costly cycles of suffering.

The project is called the Global Resilience Partnership. Its co-founders hope that the initial financial commitment to it will soon double to $200,000,000 with help from governments, companies and other stakeholders. 

The regional development director in Asia for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Michael Yates, at a Bangkok news conference explained that investments across sectors to make communities more resilient to disasters would help hundreds of millions of households.

“We know that we can't stop typhoons and earthquakes. But we can certainly do a much better job preparing for them and helping people bounce back far more quickly and far more robustly afterwards,” said Yates.

USAID is introducing the Global Resilience Partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation.

The private organization’s managing director in Asia, Ashvin Dayal, explains that the funders will seek ideas in a design challenge for solutions to build resilience that can be scaled for vulnerable communities.

“What does a resilient person look like or a resilient system or a resilient community? And you start to understand it has some characteristics -- for example, flexibility, the ability to adapt.  Some redundancy in the system so you have choices, excess capacity, things like that. These again sound conceptual. But they are very real things and they are choices about how you then invest in a community,” said Dayal.

Examples of resilience projects include storm resistant housing, crop insurance and better access to weather information. 

The approach is receiving an immediate endorsement from a key agency of the United Nations.

Fen Min Kan is the Asia-Pacific head of the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

“We believe that this initiative is important because it recognizes that working with the private sector is an essential part of building resilience. And without the private sector we cannot prevent new risks from being created,” said Kan. 

Because of poor infrastructure and lack of resources, low-income countries suffer about half of fatalities from disasters although they are hit by only nine percent of such calamities.

The Rockefeller Foundation and USAID warn that food insecurity and the effects of climate change are among the other factors that demand a new approach for building resistance to disasters.

The Asian Development Bank in a separate report released Tuesday is assessing the costs of climate change and adaptation in South Asia.

The ADB is warning that unless the world weans itself from dependence on fossil fuels, South Asia could lose an equivalent 1.8 percent of its annual gross domestic product by 2050, progressively increasing to 8.8 percent by the turn of the next century. Its data suggests that the Maldives will be hit hardest, followed by Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More