Capacity Building & Knowledge Management
Develop capacities of all stakeholders to guarantee a broader understanding of Climate and Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance, with comprehensible information easily disseminated through user-friendly knowledge-sharing platforms
Protecting the Poor and Vulnerable in the Covid-19 Crisis and Beyond
The instrumental role of the InsuResilience Global Partnership and Climate and Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance Mechanisms
2020 was an extraordinary year that forced everybody to rethink how we go about our work and the way we work. Climate change and Covid-19 present two distinct challenges but they also share some similarities and connections in the way we respond to their impacts. The intersectionality of climate-change impacts and pandemics will exacerbate the plights of the poorest and most vulnerable communities. The effects of both climate and pandemic crises are global. Both require a collaborative, well-coordinated effort from a multiplicity of stakeholders and actors from the climate, development, disaster and health communities in order to respond to the challenges they present and adequately address them. The lack of preparedness and unavailability of funds to address the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic urgently highlight the need for Disaster Risk Management frameworks and the role of Disaster Risk Financing schemes in addressing pandemics.
The compounding of risks is complex and happens across all levels from macro to micro. Economic contraction due to lockdowns and a global economic crisis lead to fiscal constraints and on the one hand leave less room for financial preparedness. At the same time, liquidity and insurance demand at the household level is curtailed as well. Impacts can mutually amplify in the short term and this may also happen in the long run – through the parallel onset of a climate event during a pandemic lockdown or decreased financial resilience as a consequence of Covid-19 measures.
From the perspective of the InsuResilience Global Partnership, there is an urgency to address the direct and cascading impacts of Covid-19 on the poor and vulnerable and to safeguard critical development programmes.
High-level Consultative Group defines the new strategic direction to address compound risks
Based on a discussion paper addressing the pandemic and compound risks written by the InsuResilience Secretariat, the High-Level Consultative Group (HLCG) acknowledged in their virtual meeting held on 15 September the threat of compound risks resulting from the interconnection of climate and disaster risks with pandemic risks. They also endorsed the suggestions and the next steps outlined in the conclusions of the Pandemic Risk Paper.
These include the mandate for the InsuResilience Secretariat to carry out a more in-depth analysis of the intersection between Climate and Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance (CDRFI) and pandemic risks within a comprehensive risk management approach. The goal is to scope the broader strategic perspective of the Partnership while maintaining the central objective of the Partnership on climate and disaster risks.
The Pandemic Risk Paper shares lessons from Covid-19 experiences, reflects on the potential contribution by the InsuResilience Global Partnership and analyzes the possibilities offered by CDRFI mechanisms when responding to similar pandemic crises in the future. The paper highlights CDRFI as one of the key elements of comprehensive risk management. While the main focus of the Partnership remains on its current mandate, i.e. climate and disaster risks, the paper suggested using the focus on comprehensive risk management as an entry point to advocate the potential of CDRFI in managing pandemic risks and compound risks.
A two-tier approach ranging from short and mid-term operational action to a long-term, more systemic type of change is proposed in the paper.
A) Short-term action and mandates for the InsuResilience Global Partnership and its Secretariat:
B) Long-term action and mandates for the InsuResilience Global Partnership:
Explore with key partners long-term options for supporting transformational change in the global architecture of governing crisis risk and finance through the prism of global surveillance and monitoring that addresses extreme and compound risks. See article: Perspective: Towards a More Resilient World
Examples from the InsuResilience Global Partnership
The fast spread of Covid-19 has been uncertain and unpredictable in its timing and characteristics. Once Covid-19 emerged, it required a rapid emergency response and unprecedented measures to mitigate the spread of the virus, alleviate the immediate economic and social impacts, and address the secondary impacts of the associated restriction measures.
Members of the Partnership are contributing in various ways to reduce the impacts of Covid-19. These early response initiatives rolled out by our members are intended to support, provide for and save the lives of the poor and vulnerable people who lack the means to cope with the crisis. They are also focused on adapting and adhering to the measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus.
As of December 2020, 11 of our 22 programmes have released a product, launched a project or have a solution in their pipeline that tackles pandemic risks.
Large donors and international organisations have come forward with activities. For example, the EU is supporting international cooperation and multilateral solutions to tackle the crisis, geared towards showing solidarity with other countries in a coordinated, global response.¹ For this purpose, the EU is assisting the UN Secretary General’s efforts directed towards collaboration with the G20, the G7, the African Union, the International Labour Organization and international financial institutions. The EU response is being carried out in a holistic Team Europe approach with contributions from all EU institutions, specifically including the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. This combined effort is aiming to address the humanitarian, health, social and economic consequences of the crisis over the short and longer term with a focus on the most vulnerable countries being supported financially and in their health sector by guaranteeing continuous supply chains. The financial support entailed in responding to the pandemic amounting to more than EUR 15.6 billion is being included within actions contributing towards full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement guaranteeing sustainable solutions.
By September 2020, the World Bank’s Cat DDO programme, the African Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank had made available a total of more than USD 30 billion in the form of immediate financing for countries responding to Covid-19. A substantial contribution amounting to USD 195 million was allocated by the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility to more than 60 Low-Income Countries in order to fight Covid-19.
The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility offered a 50% reduction in premiums and a cost-neutral coverage increase for countries in Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic. This was supported by a World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund. There is further dialogue for a better understanding of countries’ expectations of sovereign parametric insurance and pandemic risks.
The African Risk Capacity (ARC) plans to add an insurance product for coronavirus protection from 2021 onwards. This comes in addition to ARC’s existing solutions for epidemic crises. Following former epidemic crises, such as the Ebola crisis, ARC has developed the Outbreaks & Epidemics product, which partly uses existing structures present in the drought insurance mechanism. “The Outbreak & Epidemic Insurance Programme comprises significant work on in-country capacity building related to preparedness and contingency planning for outbreaks and a risk-transfer parametric product that aims to cover early response costs for an outbreak. The product will provide payouts to the affected country in the event of an outbreak amounting to a specific pre-agreed magnitude. The insurance product focuses on four diseases with epidemic potential: Ebola Virus Disease, Marburg Virus Disease, Lassa Fever, and Meningococcal Meningitis”.²
Additional funding has also been made available from the private sector. For example, our members AXA XL and Swiss Re have each contributed to solidarity funds and made donations for Covid-19 response measures. Allianz is providing sponsorship for the OxyGEN project (e.g. emergency ventilators) in collaboration with start-up Protofy. Going forward more sustainable sources of funding might be explored and developed in association with a focused programme on prevention and recovery.
Mercy Corps is at the forefront of the battle, distributing relief items like water, food and cash assistance to vulnerable communities around the world and the World Food Programme (WFP) is engaged in supporting humanitarian and health workers across Africa with Personal Protective Equipment. You can find a more detailed case study on the work of the Mercy Corps here.
The Mahila Housing Trust has launched A Safety and Security Campaign to Combat Covid-19 as a quick-response measure towards sensitizing and educating communities on Covid-19 and teaching them how to protect themselves. The campaign also distributes relief items including food, medication and sanitary products to vulnerable populations with particular focus on women. Progress in regards of gender equality has been especially threatened under the Covid-19 pandemic.
While these measures are immediate and necessary, the Centre for Disaster Protection since April 2020 has been tracking global humanitarian and development funding in response to Covid-19 to explore the extent to which the current global crisis financing system is fit for purpose, and what needs to change.
The World Resources Institute has published lessons from the pandemic experience to improve stakeholder preparedness and response to future pandemics.
Germanwatch analyzed the interrelations between climate change risks and Covid-19 impacts for developing countries. In addressing the “double crisis”, they highlighted the need to increase resilience building and climate risk financing.³
Lastly and likewise significant are the £ 744 million emergency Covid-19 support programmes run by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and over EUR 1 billion contributed by Germany’s Ministry of Economic Cooperation & Development. One example is the EUR 19.5 million premium support for the African Risk Capacity drought insurance.
As the risk of a future pandemic will be high, partly also as a result of climate change, long-term solutions against future shocks need to be prepared. The InsuResilience Global Partnership will support endeavours to work together with members and identify solutions. Making the projects more resilient to compound risks is important to deliver on its Vision 2025.