A Call to Action after the United Nations Climate Action Summit

In reaction to the announcements made on September 22nd, CSO Representatives of the High-Level Consultative Group of InsuResilience Global Partnership, Beth DeHamel of Mercy Corps and Vitumbiko Chinoko of CARE, made the following statement:

As proud members of the InsuResilience Global Partnership High Level Consultative Group  and representatives of Civil Society, we appreciate the strong commitments  made by governments and the private sector made on the day.

Civil Society is a diverse group, and to quote Mary Robinson’s Principles of Climate Justice, we must be a voice to “secure global justice for the many victims of climate change who are usually forgotten: the poor, the disempowered and the marginalized across the world” and who have not contributed to the underlying causes of the climate emergency.  As a reminder, we seek to serve the extremely poor, who are defined as those living on less than $2 per day, or about $700 per year, the majority of whom are women and children.

The commitments made advance the world towards a healthier planet, a safer future and ensure that many of the poor and most vulnerable are protected from the adverse impacts of climate change and enhance their resilience. It is important as a group that we ensure our actions through insurance reach the most affected.  We must make certain our dollar commitment translates to positive changes in the lives of those most affected by climate change.  We thank each of you for your financial and institutional commitments. These are big steps towards helping vulnerable communities respond and adapt to the climate crisis.

We also want to share with you the urgent calls for action from the poorest and most vulnerable communities who – as we know – bear a disproportionate burden from the impacts of climate change.  We, and other humanitarian and development organizations, see three main action points that we urge you to embrace and take forward as you implement the commitments announced today:

  • Alignment of actions with InsuResilience Global Partnership’s Pro-Poor Principles
  • Engagement with the poor and vulnerable in program design
  • Continued focus on how to expand our impact.

With respect to the first action point, the commitments and resulting actions must align with InsuResilience Global Partnership’s Pro-Poor Principles. These principles are based on a people-centered approach to disaster risk financing, and the understanding that the poor and vulnerable should not carry the burden of increased climate risks.

Second, the commitments must include a process for engagement of those impacted by the climate crisis.  All investments designed to assist and protect the poor should be shaped by the people they are intended to serve. This is a core principle of all activities supported by civil society.  The CSO community can be an intermediary for this work and help bring the voices and insights of those most affected to the table.  This approach will also bring the critical considerations of gender to the process. We know that women are disproportionately impacted by climate change, and the commitments must include disaggregated gender targets to ensure that new promises and actions address this. It is important that the design and implementation models are informed by the needs of those most affected by the impacts of climate change while also being responsive to national disaster management plans and strategies. Climate risk insurance should support the implementation of the whole national disaster risk strategy and not undermine it.

Finally, we all must continue to do more and seek innovative and integrated solutions grounded in local knowledge and experience.

The commitments made are generous and critical to protecting and improving millions of lives and protecting the sustainable development goals.   We call on everyone from the public to the private sector to consider how we can multiply our ambition and impact.  We call for new sources of public and private funding to support infrastructure investments and social protection services to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change, and expanded insurance to assist recovery. Such investments will save and improve the lives of millions and have a positive financial return as we reduce the loss of life and the costs of emergency response and economic loss.

All of us here understand the enormity of the crisis and the needs. As we see today, the ambition of governments, the private sector, and civil society is high.  We must bring our collective and complementary expertise, resources and perspectives together to protect and support the poor and vulnerable.  They did not create this crisis, and they cannot bear the burden of solving it alone.

Contribution by Beth DeHamel of Mercy Corps and Vitumbiku Chinoko of CARE