The UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) are partnering with the Fiji Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation to pilot the first parametric micro-insurance for select social welfare recipients located in high climate risk locations.

As of 1 November 2021, 325 social welfare recipients living in high disaster risk locations in Fiji will be included in a pilot climate risk insurance project that will run for 12 months. Climate risk insurance can help build the resilience of vulnerable populations facing increasing exposure to climate shocks, including through timely access to financial assistance.

The partnership involves the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) within the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and is a first-of-its-kind initiative in the Pacific region and potentially beyond.

“Developing climate and disaster risk insurance solutions for vulnerable segments is a priority for UNCDF, and our growing body of work in this area is anchored in the Pacific, but our ambitions are to expand it to other markets,” said Preeti Sinha, Executive Secretary of UNCDF.

“We see this strategic partnership with the World Food Programme as a model where the strengths and capacities of two UN agencies are combined to bring innovative solutions to governments to help them address development challenges for the most vulnerable.”

In addition to being some of the most vulnerable members of society, social welfare beneficiaries in Fiji also rely heavily on government support while confronting extreme weather events that are increasing in both intensity and frequency. While the humanitarian response to these events can take several months, parametric insurance in the event of a cyclone can result in payments to those affected within 3-5 business days.

“WFP is excited about this innovative partnership and pilot that brings the first macro-micro climate risk insurance to some of the most vulnerable households in Fiji including people with disabilities and older persons,” said Jo Pilgrim, Director of WFP’s Pacific Multi-Country Office.

“As climate change impacts are increasingly felt across the Pacific, it is those most vulnerable who bear the brunt of more intense extreme weather events. Through this pilot and partnerships including the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and UNCDF, we are working together to strengthen vulnerable populations resilience and capacities to cope and recover from climate shocks.”

“In the Pacific, climate change is a real threat and combined with an extreme weather event like a cyclone, places our most vulnerable populations in harm’s way. When a disaster strikes, timely financial support is critical to enable those affected to meet their basic and essential needs immediately– and the sooner we can get that support to them, the quicker they can recover,” said the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Jennifer Poole.

“The MWCPA welcomes this partnership with WFP and UNCDF to more effectively and efficiently support and protect the poor and the most vulnerable under the Ministry, being our social welfare recipients.”

The scheme comes into effect in time for the start of Fiji’s cyclone season which lasts until April each year. Two local insurance companies, FijiCare and Sun Insurance, are underwriting the risk with UNCDF providing the technical assistance in developing the product and WFP identifying the high-risk locations and covering the premiums.

This story was published at UNCDF on 11 November 2021, reposted via PACNEWS.

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