Towards Early Action: BMZ and the InsuResilience Global Partnership Convene Key Actors to Discuss how Disaster Risk Finance can Build on Early Warning Systems

A side event at the German Pavilion engaged leading institutions to explore how early warning systems can be used to shift risk financing mechanisms to an even earlier, anticipatory stage, and help governments prevent climate shocks from becoming disasters.

Dr. Heike Henn, Director at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) provided an initial framing to the session. Climate impacts do not have to lead to disasters if the necessary systems for preparedness and financing are in place. Working across various systems, technologies and institutions requires coordination and various stakeholders coming together. The InsuResilience Global Partnership provides a strong platform to facilitate effective action, linking the necessary elements together to unlock shared benefits.

John Harding, Head of the Secretariat of the Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative, and Gernot Laganda, Chief of Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction Programmes at the World Food Programme, then shared experiences from both early warning and risk finance efforts across the world. Early warning technology and data has made big advancements in recent years. However, both the necessary density in many climate vulnerable regions, as well as the ability to deliver impact-focused forecasts, remain crucial areas for improvement. As climate change leads to more frequent and intense events, using early warning systems to deliver anticipatory risk financing could be a powerful tool to both reduce overall human and economic losses, as well as absorb residual loss.

Finally, Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez of the Department of Finance of the Philippines, provided a comprehensive overview of the challenges her country faces in the face of climate change and natural catastrophes. As a country already working across macro, meso and micro levels to address various disaster-related issues, the Philippines has made substantial progress over the last years in implementing risk financing and preparedness strategies. Despite these efforts, the diversity of risks in different regions and for different vulnerable groups continues to pose a major challenge to address resilience needs across the country. One key barrier is the lack of data and underlying technology, particularly with a view towards smallholder farmers affected by frequent flooding.

Contributions by the speakers were followed by a breakout discussion, looking at early warning systems, risk finance and insurance, and country needs in three separate groups. Participants agreed that regular roundtables between early warning experts, risk finance practitioners, and country representatives could help address challenges, promote innovation towards integrated approaches, and strengthen early action capacity across vulnerable regions. One underlying priority is the expansion of early warning data and technology, and its customization to address climate impacts on economies, lives and livelihoods accurately and reliably. The InsuResilience Global Partnership will continue to work with other actors to provide such a platform and address relevant issues.