Nation e-Edition

Caribbean catastrophe model could go global

Caribbean catastrophe model could go global Christiana Figueres (GP)

Wed, October 17, 2012 - 11:00 AM

THE Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility may be adopted at a global level if suggestions put forward at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Expert Meeting are accepted.

During the three-day meeting held last week at Hilton Barbados the issue of Loss and Damage Associated with the Adverse Effects of Climate Change took centre stage.

And in delivering the keynote address during the opening ceremony, UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres noted that the Caribbean was the only region in the world with such a regional insurance system.

“It is quite unique and is looked upon by other countries as a potential lesson learnt to see what can be extrapolated. What is being thought through here in this meeting and needs to go to Doha for further consideration is what insurance mechanisms can be set up at the global level to give the first level of insurance,” she said.

She told participants from as far away as Fiji, New Zealand, Norway and Qatar that one insurance company could not accept all of the risks.

“What they do is, they work with each other to be able to take on part of the risk. That is what is being considered here,” she said.

The executive secretary also expressed her satisfaction with the progress Barbados made, particularly with the conscious efforts made over the last 30 to 40 years to put together the data on the hydrological cycle.

“You have data here on prevailing winds, you have data on currents, you have data on precipitation that is actually quite unique with respect to other islands.

“It is precisely that data set that allows Barbados to apply the data and make the infrastructure changes that need to be made, but that already are based on the data that you have projected into the future. It is quite impressive,” she said.

However, she noted that such strides placed Barbados in a privileged position, especially as it was already a middle-income country.

Figueres explained that Barbados’ classification meant it no longer qualified for access to traditional sources of financing but pointed out that as a middle-income country, Barbados now had access to other sources of funding.

“What I have learnt in my short stay here is that Barbados is working very actively with financial institutions such as the Inter-American Development Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank, and would be able to have access to further multilateral banks because of its privileged status as a middle-income country,”  Figueres pointed out.

When the curtain comes down on the meeting tomorrow, it is expected that a proposal on loss and damage, particularly from the perspective of Small Island Developing States, will be prepared to be taken to Doha towards the end of this year.

She explained the loss and damage work programme was critically important and essential to the success in Doha because it was urgent for those who were most vulnerable.

“While this may seem like the end of these expert meetings . . . if you stand back, this is not the end, it is the beginning. This is the beginning of a collective thought process informed by all of you and others on how we construct thinking outside the box with very creative, innovative thinking,” Figueres said.

“How do we create a framework that would provide both financial and technical support in infrastructure and completely integrated infrastructure, not to avoid the impacts, but to make those who are vulnerable wisely resilient to those impacts?” (BGIS)

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