How does integrated climate risk management address the negative impacts in west Africa?

InsuResilience Global Partnership

During a one-day technical conference organized back to back with a four days training event, participants from 7 West African countries gained insights in aspects of how to conceive an integrated approach for managing climate risks, ongoing projects and initiatives and discussed current challenges, gaps and perspectives for the future.

The Senegalese Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the Global Programme on Risk assessment and management for adaptation to climate change (Loss and Damage) –GP L&D- organized the conference which answered to a felt need in the region. After the opening ceremony three inputs provided the audience with a general understanding of the climate change impacts particular relevant in the region, the institutional framework, ongoing initiatives and projects as well as the approach of comprehensive climate risk management which was presented by the GP L&D.

The afternoon session provided the opportunity for an interactive exchange among practitioners on the challenges of private sector engagement in climate risk management as well as innovations in the domain of financial instruments.

During the first panel discussion, emphasis was put on the heterogeneity of the private sector (from rural to urban, large part of informal sector) which explains the importance to specify actions to be implemented so to fit their specific needs and capacities. Examples of private sector getting involved in climate risk management have been shared: public-private-partnerships which aim at the restoration of forest sites for a future use for tourism as well as participation of private sector stakeholders in the planning and financing of infrastructure for the protection of coastal zones.

The  second panel discussion dealt with innovative financial instruments in climate risk transfer. The first example was shared by Mamadi Sidibe, representing the African Risk Capacity (ARC), which is one of the implementing partners of the InsuResilience Global Partnership. ARC was created by the African Union with initial funding provided amongst others by KfW and currently counting for 33 member states. It is comprised of ARC Agency, a Specialized Agency of the African Union, and the ARC Insurance Company Limited (ARC Ltd), a financial affiliate that delivers risk transfer services. The latter one provided recently a payout to Senegal of US $ 23,1 Million which anticipates before the end of the farming season a national crisis which could have been caused by losses in agriculture due to an exceptional drought event. The amount is split up into US $ 12,5 Million for the Senegalese Government and US $ 10,6 Million handed over to Start Network, a consortium of international NGOs that collaborates with the government.

In their conclusions, participants welcomed the initiative to reinforce regional collaboration on ongoing activities and initiatives and were looking to a potential follow up.

The next four days, participants of the training started by reducing symbolically their ecological footprint: in a joint tree planting activity the environmental club of a local high school planted about 200 fruit trees, an initiative which the GV L&D has established as side event to all its conferences and trainings worldwide. Further on, participants visited a site of coastal erosion so to get insights on locally specific climate risks and management strategies. Impressed by these realities, the training focused on the “Comprehensive climate risk management approach” as developed and promoted by the GP L&D, illustrated the conceptual as well as international terms and processes before highlighting ways of implementation of climate risk management strategies. One particular focus was made to financial instruments of risk transfer. Thanks to the inputs of ARC and Startnetwork, participants learned about the general functioning of insurances, complementarity of different financial instruments such as agricultural insurances and mutual insurances but also innovative instruments such as forecast based financing implemented by Startnetwork for example in Madagascar. The common element of these different innovations is to reduce costs of interventions by fast mobilization of funds and anticipation of needs based on agro-hydro-meteorological information.

Provided with this sound background, participants developed individual action plans which focused on their specific work fields and intended upscaling of the newly achieved knowledge and skills. The GP L&D will support the translation of these plans into action via a web based platform to further enhance exchange and mutual learning.

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