AXA XL is delighted to announce the winner of the AXA XL Climate Water Nexus Award, jointly launched with the AXA Research Fund.
Following a rigorous selection process, Dr. Petra Holden, Researcher at the African Climate and Development Initiative at the University of Cape Town, has been granted the €50,000 award to support her research around nature-based solutions for an equitable, biodiverse, and sustainable climate future.
The award aligns with AXA XL’s 2023-2026 sustainability strategy and its work around water scarcity, helping to highlight how water is an underappreciated and undervalued risk closely interlinked with climate change.
Suzanne Scatliffe, Global Sustainability Director, AXA XL, said: “Water availability is becoming less predictable in many places, and the negative impacts of limited freshwater are numerous: poor health, interrupted education, gender inequalities, conflict, unreliable food production, biodiversity loss and many more. By supporting researchers like Petra, we can recognise innovative, transdisciplinary research that highlights the important link between freshwater and its ecosystem services and climate change.”
The award also aligns with the AXA Research Fund’s mission to accelerate transformative scientific research on key global risks and its dissemination towards supporting decision making – both areas outlined by the jury as contributing factors to Dr. Holden’s selection.
Dr. Holden commented: “A core theme of my research is identification and analysis of enablers of equitable and sustainable nature-based solutions for water security, biodiversity, and climate change adaptation.
“In my recent research, using the Cape Town Day Zero drought as an example, I was able to demonstrate the importance of embedding nature-based solutions, like invasive tree clearing in the city’s watershed, into a broader portfolio of water adaptation options for managing water supply to urban areas under a changing climate.
“Further, my research has been applied to financial models to help to promote innovative partnerships to support successful nature-based solutions. By identifying ways to catalyse and scale equitable nature-based solutions, governments and organisations can select approaches that maximise social and environmental value, ultimately contributing to climate, biodiversity and water goals at the local and global level.”
AXA XL is committed to engaging in water stewardship to provide visibility for water access issues and leadership in addressing them.
Authored by AXA XL