NEWS

Access To Global Insurance Key Issue For Poor, Vulnerable: PM

Current global insurance is not working well enough for the poor and vulnerable who need access to it the most, says Fijian Prime Minister and COP23 President Voreqe Bainimarama. Speaking
18 Nov 2017 13:25
Access To Global Insurance Key Issue For Poor, Vulnerable: PM
Representatives from Papua New Guinea, Congo and French governments with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during the bilateral meetings on the margins of COP23 in Bonn, Germany. Photo: DEPTFO News

Current global insurance is not working well enough for the poor and vulnerable who need access to it the most, says Fijian Prime Minister and COP23 President Voreqe Bainimarama.

Speaking in Bonn, Germany on Thursday, Mr Bainimarama delivered an address at a high level event on loss and damage. There, he also announced that he hopes more insurance schemes will be launched on the margins of COP23 before the end of the week.

“Loss and damage has been the focus of almost all vulnerable nations, particularly small island developing states and emerging economies at COP meetings,” Mr Bainimarama said.

A breakthrough has been made with Germany pledging funds to support global insurance. The plan is to use those funds where emerging economies can ensure the vulnerable groups in their countries are insured against losses related to climatic events.

However, the emerging economies want more to be done on this front and many leaders have spoken passionately about the need for finance in this area as well.

Mr Bainimarama shared the story of how many Fijians who sustained losses during monster storm Tropical Cyclone Winston did not have any form of insurance which prevented them from getting back on their feet faster.

“And certainly our people and my Government really struggled when Fiji was struck last year by the biggest cyclone ever to make landfall in the southern hemisphere,” he said.

“But as I have said before, we are deeply apprehensive, even fearful, about what would happen if a similar event were to score a direct hit on our major towns, cities and tourism properties. It could easily wipe out our economy in the space of a few terrifying hours and set back our development for decades. And also make it impossible for us to achieve our Sustainable Development Goals.

“On top of the terror and heartbreak of Winston itself, many of our people had to deal with the fact that the loss of their homes and possessions wasn’t  covered by insurance.

“They effectively had to start their lives again with no financial means. And while my Government responded quickly with a Help for Homes Initiative to assist our people to rebuild, we cannot always replicate such assistance each time a climatic event occurs.”

He stressed that initiatives such as insurance schemes will offer practical assistance and hope.

“With a generous financing arrangement for the partnership from Germany, the United Kingdom and other nations and financial institutions such as the World Bank, climate-vulnerable people throughout the world at least have an avenue to bounce back more quickly.

“It is a huge leap forward and we are delighted at the level of co-operation between government, international institutions, private sector insurance, academia and civil society organisations that has made this possible.

“It is another wonderful example of the Grand Coalition in action and a good result from COP23.

“Loss and damage isn’t some distant prospect. It is a grave and present reality. The issue, as ever, is what we do about it. And as COP President, I am aware of the responsibility of maintaining the dialogue between Parties – which I’m told is now going to be called the Suva Dialogue – to maintain focus on this issue and get to grips with its impact.

“At the same time, we need measures that provide practical access to finance for adaptation and enable us to build our resilience to climate change. It was one of my main motivations for taking on this role. And I intend to use my Presidency of COP to encourage more initiatives like the insurance mechanisms launched this week.” Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

Fijisun E-edition
Total Excellium
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper