As director of humanitarian initiatives, Rebecca Scheurer is building a diverse portfolio of climate risk protection programming at Arsht-Rock. Since 2019, Scheurer has launched initiatives and partnerships that prioritize individuals and communities facing disproportionate and compounding risks due to chronic poverty, displacement, and forms of political, social, and economic exclusion. Each effort aims to offer added layers of protection, new knowledge, and progressive skills as well as opportunities for prosperity and greater agency. Programming spans sectors and regions with contextualized and scalable interventions designed to maximize reach and impact, including nature-based solutions, economic empowerment, and advanced technologies. A low-cost mobile garden initiative, for example, now produces critical food security and ambient cooling among many of the 2.5 million people living in the slums of Chennai, India. Current efforts are also underway to introduce urgent extreme heat early warning actionable guidance through integrated alert systems in at-risk cities.
With 25+ years of experience in international disaster management in over 30 countries, Scheurer has served in a variety of leadership roles (2010 Haiti and 2005 Pakistan earthquakes, 2004 southeast Asia tsunami, and Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina disaster responses) and has managed budgets totaling more than $200 million.
At The Nature Conservancy, Scheurer advanced ecosystem-based strategies for risk reduction among vulnerable coastal communities, culminating in a “Nature Protects People” approach and unconventional partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies. As founding director of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC), Scheurer oversaw efforts to build local level disaster preparedness capacities worldwide, preceded by field-based regional representative roles for Red Cross in Thailand and Vietnam. Scheurer also worked for the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance under the US Agency for International Development, last serving as regional advisor for South Asia based in Nepal.