Tag Archives: Centre for Global Disaster Protection

Financing Resilience

Almost one and a half million people have died in natural disasters over the past 20 years. This is a waste of life; a waste of potential.

Natural disasters also have a massive economic impact. Our models suggest natural catastrophes cost the world’s poorest countries almost US$30 billion a year on average. Hard-won development gains are regularly wiped out — and it is the poor and the vulnerable who are most impacted.

In case anyone had forgotten the crippling impacts of natural disasters, 2017 served a painful reminder. Hurricanes Irma and Maria left vulnerable people in the Caribbean devastated. Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya struggled with drought. Floods and landslides wrecked lives and livelihoods in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. And then there was Hurricane Harvey which, along with the California wildfires, made 2017 the costliest on record in the United States.

Whenever and wherever catastrophe strikes, our thoughts are with those so profoundly affected.

We did not, however, need last summer’s tropical cyclones to understand that something is not working. We did not need Irma and Maria to learn that investments in resilience reduce losses from natural disasters. And we did not need the events of 2017 to know that incentives are too often insufficient to drive action in the most vulnerable regions.

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Enter the Centre

On July 8 last year, the U.K. Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced her intention to establish the Centre for Global Disaster Protection.

The big idea: capitalize on the City of London’s expertise in financial services in order to help the governments of developing countries become more resilient to natural disasters, using risk transfer, where appropriate, to avoid humanitarian crises and augment disaster aid.

Later that month, Lord Bates, the U.K. Government Minister of State for International Development, shared more color on the Centre’s remit. Addressing the International Insurance Society, he explained:

“It is about investing in the data, research and cutting-edge science to analyze risk and design systems that work well for the poorest people. It is about providing training and sophisticated analytics.

It is about pre-disaster planning, including bringing vulnerable people into the dialogue on how support should flow in an emergency.

It is about providing neutral advice — supporting countries in making decisions about which financial instruments are right for them.

It is about innovation — looking at new ways of working and building new collaborations across the finance and humanitarian communities, to design financial instruments that work for developing countries.”

Lord Bates’ address also highlighted the analytical role RMS played in the U.K. Government’s decision to create the Centre.

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