COP23 marks a rallying point for climate insurance agenda

  • 2017•11•06     Bonn

    Photo: Unicef/Chalasani

    Bonn, 6 November 2017 – During the coming two weeks decision-makers, experts and climate campaigners meet in Bonn, Germany for the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP), the annual UN climate conference. For the first time an island nation, Fiji, is the official host and determines the negotiation agenda. This is considered to be of special interest because many of the countries in the Pacific region are already feeling the consequences of climate change, and face some of the highest disaster risks in the world. In addition, “2017 is on track to become the year with the highest natural disaster losses ever,” says Peter Hoeppe, Chairman of the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII). “The global protection gap – the divide of global damage that is not proactively managed for instance through risk transfer mechanisms – is widening at a rapid pace especially for the poor and vulnerable countries. COP23 needs to bring the impacts of climate change to the limelight of the international community.”

    In the coming two weeks, UNFCCC decision-makers will further key concepts relevant for setting the rules of the Paris Agreement and determine the next negotiation steps. “COP23 is a critical litmus test for moving forward the Paris Agreement,” explains Jakob Rhyner, Board Member of MCII and Director of the United Nations University Institute for the Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) that hosts MCII. “In the next two weeks countries have a chance to better define the interplay between the different international frameworks – the Paris Agreement, the Sustainable Development Agenda and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.” It is also time to focus more on handling the evident destruction caused by climate change, he says. “Setting up meaningful activities for the international community to address climatic loss and damage in the next five years needs to be on top of the agenda for the climate summit.”

    While there are many ways to address climate change, MCII expects climate insurance to gain attention by the member states of the Paris Agreement. If applied properly, climate insurance can become one of the key strategies to better prepare countries and their citizens for the risks that climate change presents. The damages caused by extreme weather often hit vulnerable populations the hardest, and can force them to resort to coping strategies that can impede sustainable development and drive them further into poverty. However, timely and reliable payouts from climate insurance allow them to recover more quickly – and be better prepared for future disasters.

    Using climate insurance to cushion climate impacts in developing countries and to support poor and vulnerable communities will therefore be a deliverable of the climate summit. “While there have been positive but not yet sufficient trends of stabilizing emissions and a decline in coal use worldwide for the past two years, countries and communities need to increase their efforts to become more resilient,” says Christoph Bals, Vice-Chair of MCII. “Pro-poor climate insurance has received momentum as a new way to manage the damages caused by and prepare for tropical storms, flooding and droughts. COP23 should harness further support for moving forward this agenda.”

    He adds: “We should not only look at COP23 in terms of the official decisions taken – but also judge the conference for announcements and signals to push concrete initiatives for example on climate insurance.”

    At this year’s COP, MCII will be presented with a Momentum for Change award by UNFCCC for bringing key actors together to address climate risks and poverty by implementing climate insurance for vulnerable people in developing countries. MCII will also be involved in a number of events to discuss climate insurance and necessary steps to make a positive impact for communities affected by climate change. MCII will have a press briefing at COP on Friday, November 10, 2017 from 11:00 to 11:30 in press conference room 2 (Bula zone). The panel will comment on the state of play on climate insurance.

    About MCII

    The Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) was initiated as a charitable organisation by representatives of insurers, research institutes and NGOs in April 2005 in response to the growing realization that insurance solutions can play a role in adaptation to climate change, as suggested in the Framework Convention and the Kyoto Protocol. This initiative is hosted at the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS). It is focused on developing solutions for the risks posed by climate change for the poorest and most vulnerable people in developing countries. MCII provides a forum and gathering place for insurance-related expertise applied to climate change issues.