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Switzerland And The Pacific Islands Region Cooperate On Climate Change And Migration

Switzerland And The Pacific Islands Region Cooperate On Climate Change And Migration

The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP) are pleased to announce Switzerland is contributing USD100,000 to build capacity on climate change and disaster related migration, displacement and planned relocation for resilient development in the Pacific.

Project partners, including the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, are working under the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific, endorsed by the Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum PIF in 2016. Project funds are provided as co-financing under the EU-funded Intra-ACP GCCA+ Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) which aims to deliver better regional and national responses to climate change challenges faced by Pacific ACP countries. PACRES is being implemented jointly by SPREP, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Pacific Community and the University of the South Pacific.

The challenge of human mobility for Pacific Island countries was noted in the 2008 Niue Declaration on Climate Change, which recognised “the importance of retaining the Pacific’s social and cultural identity, and the desire of Pacific peoples to continue to live in their own countries, where possible”.

This new funding builds on a number of earlier Swiss investments that began under the Nansen Initiative Pacific Regional Consultation in 2013 and has continued under the Platform for Disaster Displacement. Switzerland’s Special Envoy for the Pacific Region Ambassador Yasmine Chatila Zwahlen said “The Pacific Islands Region is not only very exposed to Climate Change with its adverse effects on all aspects of Human Security, but it also harbours knowledge, tradition, solutions and best practices which the Blue Continent can share with the international community. I am proud that Switzerland can support the leadership in the Pacific Islands Region in this area of growing importance for the world.”

Project activities will include research to fill knowledge gaps to support policy development and enhancing coordination and communication to support the delivery of human mobility related programmes and policy development. Activities will be implemented by PIFS in the context of strengthening regional coordination in climate change and disaster resilience through the multi-stakeholder Pacific Resilience Partnership (PRP) for supporting resilience-building as guided by the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP). To that end PIFS will deliver the activities in close collaboration with the PRP Technical Working Group on Human Mobility.

This press release was originally posted on ReliefWeb.
Cover photo by Daniela Turcanu on Unsplash.
New UNEP programme to support climate resilience in Pacific Islands through early warning systems

New UNEP programme to support climate resilience in Pacific Islands through early warning systems

A transformative new programme initiated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) aims to establish climate and ocean information services and multi-hazard early warning systemsin Pacific Small Island Developing States, which are among the most vulnerable in the world when it comes to climate change, natural disasters and increasingly frequent or intense extreme climate events such as tropical cyclones, flooding and drought.

At its 27^th^ Board meeting on 10 November 2020, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) approved the submission of a US$49.9 million programme — of which USD 47.4 million represents the GCF grant — on Enhancing Climate Information and Knowledge Services for resilience in 5 island countries of the Pacific Ocean. This is UNEP’s first multi-country programmatic initiative in the GCF, and will cover the Cook Islands, Niue, Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu, countries with some of the world’s smallest and most dispersed populations surrounded by vast ocean areas.

Strengthening the resilience and capacity of Pacific Small Island Developing States to adapt to climate change cannot be achieved without scientific knowledge and data on climate and its impacts. The new programme aims to develop climate science and information services that are essential for sustainable development, environmental management, disaster risk reduction, food security, health services, water resource management and energy efficiency. Early warning systems facilitate effective disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, empowering populations at risk to initiate timely and appropriate actions to reduce the impact of climate-related hazards and extreme weather events.

“Climate services and early warning systems address an urgent need to provide an evidence base for planning, decision-making and responses that have the potential to save lives and livelihoods. Improved capacity to observe and predict the impacts of a changing climate will contribute to more effective environmental management, disaster risk reduction and food security in Pacific Small Island Developing States,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “The Green Climate Fund Board’s decision to invest in climate information and knowledge services in some of the countries most vulnerable to climate change is an important contribution to adaptation planning and science.”

The new UNEP programme will ensure reliable, real-time access to essential climate observation data, including the installation of a meteorological observation point on each inhabited island of the five countries, and deliver innovative approaches to disaster risk management through impact-based forecasting and forecast-based financing.

“I am pleased the GCF Board’s approval of USD 47.4 million will strengthen our partnership with UNEP to enhance climate information and knowledge services for resilience in Pacific Ocean countries. As a partnership organization, GCF operates through a network of accredited entities that work directly with developing countries to foster a paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate resilient pathways. This programme will do this by improving capacities to monitor, model and predict climate impacts in the Cook Islands, Niue, Palau, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu,” said Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund

At least 80 per cent of the islands’ populations will directly benefit from the programme through the promotion of diversified, climate-resilient livelihood practices informed by improved climate observation data and risk knowledge. In addition, the programme aims to achieve a 15-30 per cent reduction in economic damage and losses incurred due to climate-related hazards, and to enhance the productivity of climate risk-informed sectors. Strengthened ocean services will support sustainable marine ecosystems management.

“Niue is highly vulnerable to climate-related hazards and extreme climate events. This GCF-funded programme will empower our island populations to initiate timely and appropriate actions to reduce the Impact of hazards and extreme events by using improved climate information, early warning and risk knowledge. I applaud the efforts by everyone and the hard work towards the successful outcome of the approved programme Enhancing Climate Information and Knowledge Services for Resilience,” said Hon. Dalton Tagelagi, Premier of Niue. “The benefits of this programme will impact greatly on the continued efforts of the Niue people to building a safer, more resilient Niue to impacts of Climate Change and towards achieving sustainable livelihoods for the Pacific.”

The programme is part of UNEP’s commitment as a founding member of the Alliance for Hydromet Development, launched in 2019 to ramp up action that strengthens the capacity of developing countries to deliver high-quality weather forecasts, early warning systems, water, hydrological and climate services. Since its launch, significant progress has been made by the Alliance Members convened by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in designing the Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) to support countries to generate and exchange basic observational data critical for improved weather forecasts and climate services. This is will be important for the longer-term sustainability of the programme’s results.

“The GCF-funded UNEP programme will provide a major boost for the observational networks run by the national meteorological and hydrological services in the five Pacific Small Island Developing States, filling data gaps that are of national, regional and global significance. For the longer-term sustainability of these efforts, the creation of the Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) is critical. The SOFF will support Small Island Development States and developing countries in new ways to substantially increase sustained generation and international exchange of basic observational data,” said Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General.

“As the GCF Nationally Designated Authority (NDA) for Tuvalu, I take this opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate all the work that UNEP has done that has enabled this programme to be considered by the GCF Board. The support and efforts put forth by the national team from the Tuvalu Meteorological Service and the Climate Change Department in the formulation of this project proposal is highly commended. At this opportune time I sincerely thank the GCF Board and its Secretariat for their intense work. We look forward to the timely implementation of the programme at the 5 Pacific Island Countries. The programme is envisaged to strengthen the provision of reliable, delivery of climate information to aid decision making for resilience building,” said Seve Paeniu, Tuvalu’s Minister for Finance and Climate Change.

“Pacific Small Island Developing States are highly vulnerable to climate-related hazards and extreme climate events, such as tropical cyclones, flooding and drought. This Programme will empower island populations to initiate timely and appropriate actions to reduce the impact of hazards and extreme events by using improved climate information, early warning and risk knowledge,” said Kosi Latu, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme. “This is particularly timely as Pacific Island Countries face the double-edged challenge of climate change and a global pandemic. As secretariat of the Pacific Meteorological Council and host of the Pacific Climate Change Centre, we welcome this project to assist with addressing strategic priorities in the 5 countries and we look forward to supporting its implementation.”

About the UN Environment Programme

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

About the Alliance for Hydromet Development

UNEP is a founding member of the Alliance for Hydromet Development, which brings together major international development, humanitarian and climate finance institutions, collectively committed to scale up and unite efforts to close the hydromet capacity gap.

For more information, please contact:

Keishamaza Rukikaire, Head of News & Media, UN Environment Programme

Cover photo by Bora Bora Photos, 2015
Climate change: New report shows global response is failing people in greatest need

Climate change: New report shows global response is failing people in greatest need

Global efforts to tackle climate change are currently failing to protect the people who are most at risk, according to new analysis by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

IFRC’s World Disasters Report 2020: Come Heat or High Water shows that the countries most affected by climate-related disasters receive only a fraction of the funding that is available for climate change adaptation and thus struggle to protect people from the aggravating effects of climate change.

IFRC’s Secretary General Jagan Chapagain said:

“Our first responsibility is to protect communities that are most exposed and vulnerable to climate risks.

“However, our research demonstrates that the world is collectively failing to do this. There is a clear disconnection between where the climate risk is greatest and where climate adaptation funding goes. This disconnection could very well cost lives.”

The failure to protect the people most vulnerable to climate change is especially alarming given the steady increase in the number of climate and weather-related disasters. According to the World Disasters Report, the average number of climate and weather-related disasters per decade has increased nearly 35 per cent since the 1990s.

Over the past decade, 83 per cent of all disasters were caused by extreme weather and climate-related events such as floods, storms, and heatwaves. Together, these disasters killed more than 410,000 people and affected a staggering 1.7 billion people.

The World Disasters Report also argues that the massive stimulus packages that are currently being developed around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are an opportunity to address and reduce climate vulnerability. A recovery that protects people and the planet would not only help to reduce today’s risks but would also make communities safer and more resilient to future disasters.

Smart financing – with a focus on early warning and anticipatory action to reduce risks and prevent disasters before they happen – and risk reduction measures would both play a major role in protecting the most exposed communities.

Mr Chapagain said: Climate adaptation work can’t take a back seat while the world is preoccupied with the pandemic: the two crises have to be tackled together.

“These disasters are already on the doorstep in every country around the world. We must significantly scale up investment in climate smart actions that strengthens risk reduction and preparedness, alongside climate-smart laws and policies.

“With challenges like these, international solidarity is not only a moral responsibility, but also the smart thing to do. Investing in resilience in the most vulnerable places is more cost-effective than to accept continued increases in the cost of humanitarian response, and contributes to a safer, more prosperous and sustainable world for everyone.”

The World Disasters Report 2020: Come Heat or High Water can be downloaded here.

Cover image by Assam state, India, 2020/Indian Red Cross Society
Supporting countries in improving their forecasting: A new brief on how the Systematic Observations Financing Facility works

Supporting countries in improving their forecasting: A new brief on how the Systematic Observations Financing Facility works

Set up by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) provides a new way to upgrade our global weather and climate forecasting systems for a fraction of the cost compared to current investment plans. This new information brief outlines how the SOFF will work and describes the process by which this new way of investing benefits all of the global community.

Many countries lack the resource and capacity to produce regular and detailed observations, and to share them with the global community. This significantly limits the accuracy of weather and climate forecasts made for their local areas, and therefore limits the plans they can put in place to adapt and become more resilient to climate change and extreme weather events. This is because weather prediction models’ outputs are reliant upon the quality of data input – if you have low quality or infrequent observational data for an area, then the outputs are likely to be limited.

Whilst improvements have been made to other types of earth observation methods, such as from satellites, surface-based observational coverage is not consistent across the globe and has not received as much investment. This has spurred the creation of the Global Basic Observing Network (GBON). GBON sets out the standard for observations, ensuring that data are of acceptable frequency and coverage, and shared in a timely and consistent way across the global community. However, not all countries are able to meet this basic standard – or if they can, they may struggle to sustain it due to the resource and capacity needs for making surface-based observations.

This brief describes how SOFF will act as the mechanism by which countries – in particular, 68 SIDs and LEDCs – can be supported in covering their ‘GBON gap’ and in sustaining compliance with the GBON requirements. This includes both financial and technical assistance, delivered in new ways. Internationally agreed metrics guide investments (GBON), and data exchange is used as a measure of success, which also create local benefits and provide a global public good.

SOFF will only cost $400 million in its first 5 years – a fraction of the $2.5 billion currently invested just in the Alliance for Hydromet Development member’s projects. Yet SOFF is predicted to result in a 10-fold increase in radiosonde observations (observations that are taken by suspending measuring equipment under a large balloon that will ascend to high altitudes) and a 20-fold increase from weather stations.

The mechanism of SOFF’s financial and technical assistance has been carefully designed so as to ensure investments are made wisely, and that success is measured by how well data is being shared – the crucial element of improving global forecasts. This design also ensures that countries’ contributions are sustained and increase the benefits for the entire global community.

Image: A diagram of the SOFF outcomes, phases, and operational partners. 

This information brief is one of several produced by the World Meteorological Organization in collaboration with Acclimatise. They are based on the work of the SOFF working groups that brought together 30 international partners to jointly develop the SOFF concept and design.

You can learn more about SOFF and read the other briefs here.

Acclimatise acquired by Willis Towers Watson creating global powerhouse for climate resilience services

Acclimatise acquired by Willis Towers Watson creating global powerhouse for climate resilience services

Acclimatise has been acquired by leading global advisory, broking and solutions company, Willis Towers Watson. The move sees the Acclimatise team combine with Willis Towers Watson’s Climate and Resilience Hub (CRH), creating a market-leading centre of climate adaptation expertise with over fifty technical staff. The combination significantly expands the capacity of the CRH to meet growing demands for climate resilience services.

The CRH is the focal point for WTW’s work on climate risk and resilience, helping its clients to address the challenges associated with climate change across physical, transition and legal liability risks.  Acclimatise and the CRH have complementary capabilities in financial services, climate risk and vulnerability assessment, resilience planning and climate data analysis and risk modelling.

“Climate change risk is fast becoming a central part of government, corporate and financial decision making and planning. Meeting growing client demand will require increasingly sophisticated approaches to climate risk assessment and management.” Said Acclimatise CEO, John Firth. “This is why I’m hugely excited by the potential that Willis Towers Watsons’ acquisition of Acclimatise brings. I am very proud of Acclimatise’s achievements and our staff over its sixteen-year history – from kitchen table to a market leader – and am confident that combining with the Climate and Resilience Hub is the right move to ensure we can amplify the impact of our work.”

Welcoming the deal, Rowan Douglas, Head of the CRH, said, “By combining Acclimatise’s market-leading climate modelling and adaptation capabilities with Willis Towers Watsons’s deep experience in natural catastrophe modelling, risk management, re/insurance and investment markets we have a unique range of expertise to help clients manage climate exposures, seize adaptation opportunities and build more resilient societies and economies.”

The two companies have collaborated in the past and have enjoyed a strong working relationship. “We have long admired Acclimatise and what John Firth and Dr Richenda Connell have built as visionary leaders since 2004.” Said Douglas, “Our earlier collaboration via the Willis Research Network illustrated a shared market ambition, culture and complementary experience and relationships.  This feels like a very natural step for both teams. We are all excited about meeting the resilience challenges for corporates, Governments and financial institutions in the years ahead.”

The deal comes at a time where there is significant momentum behind climate risk services for corporates, Governments and the financial services sector. In recent years, WTW has increasingly mainstreamed climate risk across its business segments. John Haley, CEO Willis Towers Watson, said that the acquisition “is very much in line with our ambition to help clients navigate an increasingly complex world and to achieve climate resilience through the provision of market-leading solutions. Acclimatise’s capabilities and proven success in the area of climate risk, provide significant opportunities for us going forward. I am excited about what this means for Willis Towers Watson.”

The value of surface-based meteorological observation data: a new brief on the costs and benefits of the Global Basic Observing Network (GBON)

The value of surface-based meteorological observation data: a new brief on the costs and benefits of the Global Basic Observing Network (GBON)

Spearheaded by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) provides a new way to upgrade our global weather and climate forecasting systems for a fraction of the cost compared to current investment plans. SOFF applies internationally agreed metrics – the requirements of the Global Basic Observing Network (GBON) – to guide investments and create local benefits while delivering on a global public good.

This new information brief explains how the world can benefit from improved surface-based observations and shows how targeted investments can yield the highest level of improvement in weather prediction and climate analysis.

Improved surface-based observations deliver economic, environmental, and social benefits. Alongside the provision of timely warnings about extreme weather events, investments in weather and climate services yield a strong positive cost-benefit ratio that will positively impact a wide range of sectors. However, these benefits will only be realised if systems are in place to translate them into useful information through improved forecasting.

Numerical Weather Predictions (NWPs) use computer-encoded versions of predictive equations of atmospheric behaviour to understand how climate has changed in the past, and how it may be evolving in the future. While global NWP is useful, there is significant scope for improvement in NWP accuracy. In fact, full implementation of GBON will roughly double the amount of surface-based data available to global NWP.

The monetary benefits of implementing GBON will fall mainly to regions with a high share of global GDP. However, there are massive cost savings to be had by all. Currently, the world’s global observation system is estimated to cost US$ 10 billion a year whereas the estimated funding to supports Small Island Development States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in achieving GBON compliance for an initial five-year period corresponds to USD 400 million.

This information brief is one of several produced by the World Meteorological Organization in collaboration with Acclimatise. They are based on the work of the SOFF working groups that brought together 30 international partners to jointly develop the SOFF concept and design.

You can learn more about SOFF and read the other briefs here.

Landmark legal case sees Australia’s biggest superannuation fund commit to strong action on climate change after 25-year old Brisbane man sues

Landmark legal case sees Australia’s biggest superannuation fund commit to strong action on climate change after 25-year old Brisbane man sues

By Will Bugler

Australia’s largest super fund, Rest, has agreed to test its investment strategies against various climate change scenarios and commit to net-zero emissions for its investments by 2050, after a legal case brought by a 25-year-old man from Brisbane. Mark McVeigh sued Rest in 2018 for failing to provide details on how it will minimise the risk of climate change. The landmark case represents the first time a superannuation fund has been sued for failing to consider climate change.

Mr McVeigh alleged Rest had breached Australia’s Superannuation Industry Act and the Corporations Act, after it failed to provide him with information on how it was managing the risks of climate change. These risks include physical climate risks that threaten Rest’s investments, and also transition risks which arise from the decarbonisation of the global economy.

Climate change is a ‘material, direct and current financial risk’

Australian law requires trustees of super funds to act with “care, sill and diligence to act in the best interest of members – including managing material risks to its investment portfolio”. In its settlement Rest agreed that its trustees have a duty to manage the financial risks of climate change.

In Rest’s statement about the settlement it said: “The superannuation industry is a cornerstone of the Australian economy — an economy that is exposed to the financial, physical and transition impacts associated with climate change.” and went on to emphasise that “climate change is a material, direct and current financial risk to the superannuation fund”.

Rest also agreed to take immediate action by testing its investment strategies against various climate change scenarios, publicly disclose all its holdings, and advocate for companies it invests in to comply with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Mr McVeigh’s lawyer, David Barnden, head of Equity Generation Lawyers, said the case still sets an important precedent globally. “This outcome should represent a significant shift in the market’s willingness to tackle climate risk—a shift which should set a clear precedent for the industry in Australia, and also pension funds around the world,” he said. Mr Barnden is also representing 23-year-old Katta O’Donnell, who is suing the Australian Government for failing to disclose the risks that climate change could have on government bonds.

Growing momentum behind regulation

The latest cases in Australia are part of a global movement towards stricter regulation governing the financial risks posed by climate change (see Acclimatise’s timeline charting the rise of climate law). In 2015, for example, France introduced laws mandating climate disclosure for institutional investors and asset managers and in 2017 the Financial Stability Board’s Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure published recommendations for corporate climate disclosures. In 2019, National Instrument 51-102 Continuous Disclosure Obligations set out new requirements for firms reporting in Canada to disclose material risks in their Annual Information Form.

The implication of landmark cases such as the Rest settlement, is that super funds, pension funds, banks and other investors will increasingly require companies to understand and manage their climate risks. Earlier this year, Acclimatise worked Working with Asia-Pacific’s largest law firm, MinterEllison to produce a primer on physical climate risk aimed at Non-Executive Directors. The primer was published by Chapter Zero a global voluntary programme that connects and supports Non-Executive Directors to improve oversight and action on the issue of climate change.

Download the primer here.

Cover photo by Sippakorn, on Pixabay.
Rainfall Explorer: Achieve next-level insight into global rainfall and flood patterns

Rainfall Explorer: Achieve next-level insight into global rainfall and flood patterns

Today, the EO4SD Climate Resilience Cluster releases the Rainfall Explorer, a cutting-edge tool that enables users to readily obtain near real-time extreme rainfall statistics for past major flood events recorded anywhere in the world.

Global annual dollar damages from floods have increased from an average of US $4bn in 1971 to around US $40bn by 2015. Despite increasing flood-related losses, there remains low capacity to understand historic flood – rainfall patterns, trends, and impacts, across most of the world. These gaps in understanding compound uncertainties about how extreme rainfall and flood hazard could change under a future climate.

All of this increases the imperative to leverage new and existing data to derive deeper insights that may improve early-warning of near-term flood risks and inform development of robust, climate resilient strategies to deal with future flood risk. Our tool, which is already used by the World Bank and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, seeks to be part of the solution.

Rainfall return level and return period data during late July 2016 over Maryland (USA) visualised using the Rainfall Explorer.

It is well understood that prolonged heavy rainfall is a key trigger of major flood events globally. However, catchment characteristics, land cover, topography, drainage, flood control, and other factors (including how these change in these over time) result that flood propensity for similar amounts of rainfall varies significantly from place-to-place. Further, a range of factors lead an area to be flood-prone at a given point in time, including the height the water table, ground saturation, and river discharge. And whilst the Rainfall Explorer presents rainfall statistics over a 5-day period, destructive flash floods may be triggered by intensive rainfall falling in a few hours.

Nevertheless, analysing accumulated rainfall in the lead-up major floods in an area can help to illuminate the relationship between rainfall and flood propensity. Using this tool, users may select past floods or areas of interest to obtain rainfall statistics, including the amount of rainfall (mm) recorded 5-days prior to a flood, the return period (years) of this rainfall, and the range of the rainfall return period for the selected area or flood.

  • In turn, these statistics can assist users to:
  • Identify patterns and trends in flood occurrence, flood severity and rainfall totals, and rainfall return levels
  • Identify rainfall thresholds likely to trigger a large flood in an area of interest
  • Identify the amount of rainfall associated with a past material flood event of interest
  • Understand the likelihood of rainfall associated with past flood events
  • Find the return period (years) for a given 5-day rainfall amount (mm)
  • Find the 5-day rainfall return level (mm) for a given return period (years)
  • Map the region affected by a past flood event, together with the 5-day rainfall amount and return period associated with the event

The Rainfall Explorer currently leverages the Dartmouth Flood Observatory archive of large flood events (1984 to 2020) and a 40-year timeseries of processed Copernicus ERA5 Reanalysis daily precipitation data, at 30km x 30km spatial resolution, available near-real time (with 5 days delay from present time). ERA5-Land Reanalysis daily precipitation data, at enhanced 9km x 9km spatial resolution, will be available in early 2021. All data are stored and computed in the cloud, meaning that users may access the Rainfall Explorer using only a web browser, wherever they are.

Access the Rainfall Explorer here.

The Rainfall Explorer is an EO4SD tool led by Telespazio Vega UK and Sistema GmbH, with the support of Acclimatise and GMV. We thank the World Bank and MIGA for valuable feedback provided during the development of this tool.

This article was originally posted on the EO4SD CR website.
IDF report identifies how barriers to global risk understanding can be overcome

IDF report identifies how barriers to global risk understanding can be overcome

Latest IDF White Paper ‘The Development Impact of Risk Analytics’ demonstrates the importance of risk insight as a foundation for sustainable development, and how access to risk understanding can – and should – be accelerated.

LONDON 20 October, 2020: The Insurance Development Forum (IDF), a partnership led by the insurance industry and supported by the UN, World Bank, NGOs and other international organisations, is calling for an international collaboration to share and propagate capabilities in disaster risk understanding where it is needed the most.

This call to action is the message of the IDF’s latest white paper – The Development Impact of Risk Analytics – a truly cross-sector report bringing together risk expertise from more than 30 organisations across private sector, development agencies and specialists, academia and international NGOs. The paper demonstrates how the adoption of open risk modelling principles and frameworks can help countries and cities integrate invaluable local knowledge with global research, and most importantly develop their own view of risk for strategic risk management and operational risk finance.

The report assesses the powerful contribution of risk quantification in the context of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and how the use of open risk analytics principles and platforms can overcome cost and other barriers to access, while increasing confidence in the analysis. This empowering capability is critical as vulnerable economies seek to build social, environmental and financial resilience in the face of increased climate risk, pandemic and other threats.

Specific country case studies build the case for local empowerment through building national and city risk functions. A deeply evidence driven chapter describes the distinct experience of women and girls in disasters, and how gender considerations can – and must – be integrated in the process of understanding and managing risk.

Providing compelling evidence from all sectors and from across the globe, the paper recommends that the way to accelerate risk understanding at scale is through public, private and academic collaborations, made possible through shared use of open source platforms and data standards. The private sector has developed risk understanding as a survival skill and stands ready to work with sovereign ministries, development partners and humanitarians in strategic risk prevention, residual risk transfer and anticipatory action. Critically, this will build a shared language of risk across providers and users of risk capital.

Between them, the expert contributors identify that disasters and climate risk are intensifying, and their impacts – as we have seen recently with COVID-19 – are a global concern. As the authors suggest, to better prepare for these scenarios we need to move from managing disasters to managing the risk itself.

Nick Moody, the paper’s editor and member of the IDF’s Risk Modelling Steering Group, said:

“Our subjective personal experience and observations will always be a factor in complex decision-making, and we all know that no model will ever be completely correct. However the practice of integrating local and global research and openly sharing assumptions reduces uncertainty and, frankly, fear. It builds the confidence so essential for attracting investment in resilience. This means that risk understanding should not be the privilege of the few.

The good news is that the methodologies, research sources and open source technology already exist; primarily we need to solve the problem of distribution; we need to make risk knowledge accessible where it is needed the most. We hope this paper fuels the conversation and leads to an SDG focussed public-private programme applying open source principles and standards, where risk analytics can become accessible as a strategic resource to all nations and cities at risk.”

Jan Kellett, Special Advisor, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Finance Sector, said:

“Development is about empowerment; risk owners are understandably keen to move from aid dependency to sustainable local capacity, capable of responding to the differentiated needs of communities, genders and vulnerable groups.

However it is hard for a nation or city to achieve this while barriers remain to building local risk understanding, and to integration of local experience and research. Governments and cities increasingly need to integrate strategic risk thinking into their resilience planning and financing frameworks, but to do so they need accessible tools and methodologies.

The re/insurance sector can bring significant risk modelling and risk management expertise to help unlock sustainable investment. This paper shows how cross-sector collaboration, open standards and enabling technology can harness these strengths for public good and economic development.”

Katherine Miles, advisor to the InsuResilience Gender Working Group, said:

“This report relates compelling evidence that women and men face different climate and disaster risks and vulnerabilities. People centred metrics are crucial to accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. To ensure risk prevention and resilience programmes are gender-responsive, the report shows the value of gender-information and sex-disaggregated data.

Empowering more women in technical and leadership positions will be key to generate and apply these insights: from national climate and disaster risk planning to the design, implementation and regulation of all types of risk transfer mechanisms.”

Access the report here.

About the IDF

The IDF is a public/private partnership led by the insurance industry and supported by international organisations. The IDF was first announced at the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP21) Paris Climate summit in 2015 and was officially launched by leaders of the United Nations, the World Bank and the insurance industry in 2016.

PR Contacts

  • Helen Wright, Lysander PR
  • Roddy Langley, Lysander PR

Cover photo by DFID, Climate Visuals.
UNDRR’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction – 2020 Edition

UNDRR’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction – 2020 Edition

Tomorrow marks the UNDRR’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction. Held every 13 October, the day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face.

This year’s edition continues as part of the “Sendai Seven” campaign, focusing on Target E: “Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020.”  This year’s theme is about conveying that many disasters can be avoided if there are disaster risk reduction strategies in place to manage and reduce existing levels of risk.

You can find dedicated resources, stories, articles and events taking place around this day, here.