Launching the InsuResilience Centre of Excellence on Gender-Smart Solutions at COP26

By Tuga Alaskary

 

At a time when climate-related disasters are predicted to push an additional 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030[1], there is an increasing need for strengthened adaptation and resilience building mechanisms.

Since its establishment in 2017, the InsuResilience Global Partnership (IGP) has mobilized a grand coalition of multi-stakeholder actors to promote the scale-up of pre-arranged, predictable financing for early action, relief and recovery. Over 100 members endorse the common vision to put forward an actionable and transformative agenda to strengthen the resilience of poor and vulnerable people from the impacts of disasters and protect their lives and livelihoods.

Yet, the evidence shows overwhelmingly that climate change impacts for women and men can often differ, with the prevailing view that gender differentiation is based on pervasive historical and existing inequalities and multidimensional social factors rather than biological sex. Consequently, women and girls are disproportionately affected by disasters.

Therefore, IGP, through its highest governing body and strategic driver, the High-level Consultative Group (HLCG) saw a clear imperative to consider the gender-dimensions of Climate Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance (CDRFI). In September 2020, the HLCG endorsed a Declaration on Gender, marking an important milestone and offering a firm signal of the commitment to consolidate and strengthen efforts of members of the IGP, to drive comprehensive gender-responsive approaches in CDRFI interventions.

Research commissioned by IGP has found that when gender dimensions are incorporated in the CDRFI sector, they often remain vague, uncoordinated, not prioritized and lack the capacity, resources and monitoring mechanisms to ensure successful implementation[2]. To overcome these challenges, the HLCG mandated the establishment of the InsuResilience Centre of Excellence on Gender-smart Solutions, which will be fully launched in Glasgow at COP26. This Centre of Excellence aims to play a key role in identifying gender equitable disaster risk management strategies and guide practitioners on innovative solutions to transform the CDRFI sector towards being more gender-informed and leading toward greater gender equality.

To date, no other platform exists that collects, bundles, generates and coordinates information and knowledge on gender-related aspects in the area of CDRFI. By integrating gender-sensitive, -responsive and -transformative approaches within the CDRFI framework, the InsuResilience Centre of Excellence on Gender-smart Solutions constitutes an online repository of information and a unique knowledge-exchange platform.

Since its soft-launch a year ago, the InsuResilience Centre of Excellence on Gender-smart Solutions has spearheaded efforts to overcome the gender gaps within the CDRFI sector. This includes a sponsorship programme, together with the Access to Insurance Initiative, Women´s World Banking and the Oxford University´s Saïd Business School. Through this scholarship programme 5 senior officials from insurance regulatory agencies in developing economies and high-potential women from their respective institutions participated in the “Leadership and Diversity Programme for Regulators in 2021.

The InsuResilience Centre of Excellence on Gender-smart Solutions has also organised a number ofevents, through its Live Talk series on Gender and Climate Risk Finance,  attracting diverse audiences and pushing the dialogue on gender-smart CDRFI. Krishnan Narasimhan of UNCDF recently wrote that participating in one of these events “prompted a series of affirmative actions to successfully integrate a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion approach within [our] programme”.

The InsuResilience Centre of Excellence on Gender-smart Solutions has the potential to drive a transformation of the CDRFI sector and beyond. To realise this potential, we need to consolidate our knowledge and collectively work toward an actional and transformative agenda. This COP26, as we launch the platform, we will be calling for partners to join us in our quest to better understand gender gaps and to redress them with definitive action.

 

 

[1] Hallegatte et al, 2015.

[2] Integrating Gender Considerations into different models of climate risk insurance (CRI), published December 2019.