The role of insurance is to understand and share knowledge about existing and emerging risks, because a better understanding and broader public awareness are critical to design a resilient society.
This is why through the AXA Research Fund, the science philanthropic initiative of the Group, AXA supports global fundamental research on Life, Environmental and Socioeconomic risks. As of today, we have supported over 150 research projects to understand and better prevent climate and environmental risks, with a planned total commitment of EUR 35 million by 2018.
AXA Research Fund climatologists Jean Jouzel and Valérie Masson-Delmotte explain why climate change is a collective challenge:
Not only does the AXA Research Fund support research on risks, but its ambition is also to facilitate the scientific community's implication in the public debate. Promoting the voice of researchers is particularly critical in the current negotiations on climate change, as solid elements of proof are a critical building block towards reaching global agreements.
As an illustration, in June 2014 at the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Bangkok, Thailand, the AXA Research Fund organized a roundtable featuring researchers, AXA colleagues and other public sector representatives on the'Private Sector Engagement in supporting Research on Risks" to deliver the latest research findings regarding disaster risk reduction.
The AXA Research Fund also plays a role in educating the general public on the urgency of taking action on climate change. We have partnered with Sciences Po's initiative "Make It Work" designed to have students simulating the negotiations ahead of the COP 21, with a testing and learning innovative approach. Some of the students took part in a multi-stakeholder Climate Risks Workshop organized by AXA Research Fund on April 2nd and researchers supported by AXA coached some students to help them prepare for the negotiations simulation.
In a partnership with National Geographic, three Researchers supported by the AXA Research Fund shared their knowledge on how to better protect people from extreme events in the context of climate change, through a discussion with NatGeo Explorer Jon Waterman based on Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
Prof. Rosh Ranasinghe (UNESCO Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands) is studying the impacts of climate change on the coasts, and assessing adaptation strategies like engineering structures or softer options such as spatial planning, innovative architecture and construction. Read more.
Prof. Deborah Balk (City University of New York) uses new spatial demographic forecasting methods, to understand of how many urban dwellers will live in the path of climate-related risks, especially in emerging countries. Her work will provide essential information for evidence-based climate adaptation strategies for countries and international agencies. Read more.
Sandrine Sidze (PhD Student at United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security) focuses on designing and disseminating a model for technology-based public education that empowers the learner. She aims not only to increase the local community's knowledge on climate topics, but to help them, their governments, universities, NGOs - in central Africa and elsewhere - better grasp the connection between their local environment and global issues of climate change and development. The ultimate goal: the collaborativecreation of sustainable new habits for all. Read more.