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Fostering Collaboration: Uniting Public and Private Sectors for Global Seismic Risk Reduction


Dec 14, 2023

Dec 1, 2023

November 30, 2023. Pavia, Italy. The GEM Foundation recently received a significant boost to its public-private alliance through a series of membership renewals and upgrades from both sectors. Emphasising the fundamental role that collaboration plays in global disaster risk reduction, these partnerships assert GEM’s commitment to developing synergistic relationships between the public and private sectors. 

These renewals and upgraded memberships highlight appreciation for GEM's efforts to pioneer innovation, share knowledge, and drive concerted efforts for global seismic risk mitigation. As GEM welcomes both returning and new members, it reaffirms its pledge to catalysing advancements in seismic hazard and risk research and reinforcing global resilience against seismic risks.

Public Sector Commitments Renewed and Extended

Geoscience Australia and SERI (Switzerland) restated their dedication to worldwide disaster resilience and seismic risk reduction through extended support as public Governor sponsors for the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation.

Represented by Mark Edwards, Geoscience Australia renewed its sponsorship for an additional five years, extending from 2024 to 2028. Edwards emphasised their commitment to a risk-resilient world saying: 

“Our commitment to extending our partnership with the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation for five more years embodies our organisation's vision of more resilient communities in Australia and in assisting regional neighbours to achieve the same across all natural hazards. By contributing our expertise, we aim to align activities within Australia with global initiatives that mitigate risks to earthquakes and other natural hazards, ensuring communities thrive even in the face of adversity.”

Simultaneously, Switzerland, represented by SERI, renewed for a one-year extension effective from January 1st, 2024, with plans for further collaboration from 2025 to 2028. Martin Kern from SERI stated:

"At SERI, we are very happy about the opportunity to support GEM's mission to promote global disaster resilience strategies. Our decision to renew the Swiss partnership reflects the Swiss seismology community’s dedication to advancing seismic risk reduction initiatives globally through close international collaboration. The collaboration of the Swiss Seismological Service (SED at ETHZ) with GEM is an excellent example for this spirit.”

Private Sector Collaborations Step Up Support

In the private sector, in addition to the new sponsorship from Zurich Insurance Group, major reinsurance players PartnerRe and Gallagher Re strengthened their partnerships with the GEM Foundation, advancing efforts not only towards global resilience against seismic risks but also towards bridging the insurance gap in vulnerable regions prone to seismic events.

PartnerRe has renewed and upgraded its role within GEM from an Advisor to a Private Governor Sponsor, stepping into a voting position effective January 1st, 2024. Paul Della Marta, representing PartnerRe, highlighted the significance of this advancement:

“As a world leader in reinsurance, PartnerRe helps insurers create risk transfer solutions that provide financial protection from the devastating effects of earthquakes. By combining GEM’s scientific expertise, tools and data with our own deep understanding of earthquake risk, we can help our clients create more relevant, sustainable and impactful reinsurance solutions that enable earthquake-hit areas to recover more quickly.”
“Our continued partnership with GEM speaks to our fruitful collaboration. We are particularly impressed by GEM’s collaborative, interactive approach in working with its stakeholders, and are proud to support GEM in their goal of worldwide earthquake resilience”.

Gallagher Re, another key player in the reinsurance industry, has initiated its collaboration as a new Private Advisor Sponsor for GEM, commencing from December 1st, 2023. Iain Willis, representing Gallagher Re, shared his outlook:

"Gallagher Re's collaboration with GEM as a new Private Advisor Sponsor embodies our organisational philosophy of fostering innovation and collaboration to mitigate global seismic risks. Our involvement also signifies a strategic step towards greater shared knowledge and expertise in risk management and disaster resilience. Gallagher Re are proud to partner with GEM in the shared mission of further safeguarding communities from seismic threats and improved societal well-being."

GEM's Acknowledgement and Commitment

Helen Crowley, GEM's Secretary General, emphasised GEM's key role in merging the public and private sectors, stating, "Since the incorporation of the GEM Foundation almost 15 years ago, the focus has always been on ensuring a strong and balanced public-private partnership. GEM has clearly contributed to the convergence of these sectors within the field of disaster risk assessment, demonstrating the benefits of integrating risk-based decisions into planning and sustainable development. The commitment from our public partners, coupled with the enthusiasm and expertise of our private partners, underscores our progress in fortifying global seismic risk resilience."

In summary, the renewed commitments and new partnerships reflect a joint effort from both public and private sectors to strengthen global resilience against seismic risks. GEM continues to play an essential role in this field, fostering collaborations that drive innovative solutions, and reinforcing the world's ability to withstand seismic challenges.

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