Every year, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP, gathers the influential thinkers and doers of climate change policy from around the world and across different sectors to discuss, deliberate, and decide on action that must be taken on crucial climate change issues.
Since 2014, the African Risk Capacity has attended the COP as an organization at the forefront of climate financing solutions. At COP20, ARC unveiled its plans for its Extreme Climate Facility (XCF). At COP21 – the historic summit when the Paris Agreement was signed – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and President Barack Obama strongly endorsed ARC by voicing support for climate insurance as a solution to climate change impacts. This endorsement was echoed at COP22 by Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank.
As in years before, ARC is attending COP23 in Bonn, Germany. Updates on the discussions and progress will be presented on a rolling basis on this page. Check back to see what ARC developments will come from this year’s global climate summit.
Pre-COP: ARC & ECOWAS Collaborate on Disaster Risk Financing
Bringing together the Disaster Risk Reduction Policy of ECOWAS and ARC’s experience with working with West African governments on disaster risk financing, this partnership combines technical and political forces to increase the capacity of West African states to manage their climate risk and protect their most vulnerable populations.
Read the full press release here.
Innovations in Disaster Risk Financing in Africa
Kicking off the event, H.E. Lamin B. Dibba, the Minister of Environment of the Gambia, spoke about his country’s transformative experience with ARC. “There is a shift in thinking: from seeing disaster financing as unpredictable to something that can be anticipated and planned for. ARC complements and advances this thinking.”
H.E. Dibba emphasized the importance of this move towards preparing for disasters early. “It is important to be a part of a system that can quickly respond to such emergencies to support that critical mass of the population. 75% of the Gambian population relies on rain-fed agriculture for their livelihoods, so ARC is a very important mechanism for us.”
The panel featured Mr. Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, board member of the Green Climate Fund; Ms. Dolika Banda, CEO of ARC Insurance Company Limited; Dr. Anthony Nyong, AfDB Director of Climate Change and Green Growth; and Ms. Kulthoum Omari, Coordinator of the African Group of Coordinators and Africa Adaptation Initiative.
Based on their perspectives and experiences from their work, different approaches to climate financing – and their successes and challenges – were discussed with the audience. 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 will be released on COP23 Africa Day, 15 November. Stay tuned!
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.”
Insurance for Climate-Smart Land Use
Agriculture is affected by climate change: the agricultural sector contributes to about half of the greenhouse gas emissions from land use, and climate change degrades agricultural productivity by increasing the risk of longer and more intense extreme climate events. The Paris Agreement of 2015 included a collective commitment to mobilize US $100 billion in climate finance to help developing nations and the populations most affected by climate shocks to implement climate adaptation and resilience measures, including climate-smart land use.
Four UN organizations – the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Food Programme, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification – hosted a panel on the progress of climate financing and paths forward in building resilience, protecting small farmers, and funding a climate-smart agricultural practices in line with the Paris Agreement commitments.
As pioneers in climate financing in Africa, ARC was invited to share insights on how African governments have sought to access financing in innovative ways to address climate risks faced by small farmers.
Ms. Iyahen explained how ARC’s innovative disaster risk financing is important in securing the livelihoods of the most vulnerable whilst simultaneously protecting the development gains made by governments. “By responding earlier, farmers are not forced into a state of crisis and can give greater consideration to better land use. Additionally, risk analysis undertaken by ARC can strategically inform government agricultural land use policies towards climate smart agriculture.”
Stay tuned for more updates from COP23!