COP23: Innovations in Disaster Risk Financing for Africa

13/11/2017
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COP23: Innovations in Disaster Risk Financing for Africa

A joint workshop organized by the African Development Bank, African Union Commission and the African Risk Capacity (ARC) was held on Sunday, November 12, 2017 to discuss “Innovations in Disaster Risk Financing for Africa” as part of a series of Policy Dialogues during the UNFCCC COP23, Bonn, Germany.

Representatives from the Africa Group of Negotiators, policy-makers, climate and disaster risk management experts and development practitioners from Africa gathered to share their ideas and perspectives on climate financing and why Africa needs innovative climate risk solutions.

Lamin B. Dibba, Minister of Environment of The Gambia, during his opening remarks, emphasized the need of rethinking the way to look at disasters: “There is a shift in thinking: from seeing disaster financing as unpredictable to something that can be anticipated and planned for.”

During the panel based on experts’ perspectives and experiences from their work, different approaches to climate financing were discussed. Ekhosuehi Ivahen, Director of ARC, explained where risk pools fit in and how to layer them with other financial instruments to support resilience.

Anthony Nyong, the African Development Bank’s Director of Climate Change and Green Growth, raised the issue of the need of enabling African Governments to assess their level of financial protection against disasters. “We need innovative ways to raise financing to deal with our problems,” he said.

Dolika Banda, CEO of ARC Insurance Company Limited, said, “The end game for us isn’t just to build capacity. It’s to have a sovereign-owned mutual insurance company, owned by African stated”.

The dialogue acknowledged the existing climate risk financing shortfall, and put forward key recommendations to help close the gap and advance policy for its implementation. Intentions and end goals were shared, ranging from creating an African-owned mutual insurance company to balancing investments in adaptation and resilience. The discussion was condensed into an outcome statement that was released on COP23 Africa Day, November 15. 

The panel featured also Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, Board Member of the Green Climate Fund, and Kulthoum Omari, Coordinator of the African Group of Coordinators and Africa Adaptation Initiative.

ARC Director General, Mohamed Béavogui, closed the session by emphasizing the need to assess risks, develop contingency plans, and increase access to disaster risk financing through capacity building and partnerships. “Insurance is the last resort, but we will rely on insurance for the next 30, 40, 50 years because none of us will have the resources to manage increasing climate risk without insurance,” he said.