Broking and solutions company, WTW, has helped to create the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) new initiative to provide sustainable disaster and climate change protection to meet the specific needs of vulnerable children.
The ground-breaking UNICEF Today and Tomorrow Initiative will invest in climate resilience and anticipatory action for improved cyclone preparedness in select climate-vulnerable countries.
At the same time, this will be complemented by a rapid response to tropical cyclones financed through a pre-arranged parametric insurance policy, that is designed by WTW and funded with support from the German and UK governments under the newly launched G7-V20 Global Shield against Climate Risks.
In a press release, WTW noted that the programme is expected to provide at least $100 million of protection over an initial three-year period.
Spanning across four global regions, the initiative will focus on eight UNICEF host countries – Bangladesh, Comoros, Haiti, Fiji, Madagascar, Mozambique, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu – with all classified as Least Developed Countries (LDCs) or ranking amongst the global top 15 countries at risk from climate-related disasters, or both.
Karin Hulshof, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Partnerships, said: “The risks of climate change are no longer hypothetical. They are here. And even while we work to build communities’ resilience against climate disasters, we have to become much better in pre-empting risks for our children. We know more climate disasters are in the making. We just do not know where or when they will hit.”
According to the Anticipation Hub, children represent the majority affected by disasters, yet this will be the first time that an ex-ante climate disaster risk financing mechanism specifically targets children. As especially vulnerable population segments of the target countries of the UNICEF Initiative, children fall directly into the 500 million protection target of the V20/G20+ led InsuResilience Global Partnership.
“UNICEF is the first UN institution, as well as one of the largest humanitarian organisations worldwide, to take out a bespoke disaster risk coverage for the protection of children, young people and parents, especially mothers. As such, UNICEF is pioneering proof of concept for other organisations in the field. The decisive action by UNICEF can be a catalyst for more efficient, reliable, and quicker humanitarian crisis finance,” said Simon Young, a Senior Director in the Climate and Resilience Hub at WTW.
“WTW supports UNICEF’s Call to Invest, and to mobilise additional financing for preparedness under the Initiative’s Today component. We stand ready to continue our role in helping to climate- and future-proof humanitarian finance through pre-arranged and trigger-based funds to mitigate the impacts of climate shocks.”
Furthermore, the WTW parametric policy builds on the specially developed Child Cyclone Index, capturing children’s exposure to tropical cyclone and related relief needs. This is enhanced through inclusion of a minimum payment for smaller events, of at least between $50,000 and $150,000 -varying by country – for any event with a windspeed of at least 39 miles per hour over land / 63 kilometres per hour, that is linked to impacts on children and young people.
Heike Henn, a Director at the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), said: “We are pleased to support UNICEF in advancing the world’s first child-centred financial protection tool for climate-related hazards and show the new G7/V20 Global Shield Against Climate Risks at work. We expect that UNICEF’s Today and Tomorrow Initiative will deliver in three areas: first, increased uptake of ex ante risk financing solutions by governments through knowledge sharing and increased familiarity with risk financing instruments; second, improved institutional and operational shock resilience of development institutions, and third and most importantly, closing the disaster risk protection gap for the most vulnerable people, especially children and mothers.”
Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell, Minister of State in the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, added: “The UK is proud to be a partner in the new Global Shield against climate and disaster risks, and to co-fund the Global Shield Finance Facility. We strongly support bringing pre-arranged and trigger-based financing to the humanitarian sector, and I’m delighted that the Facility will expand its work as part of the Shield, including this new grant to UNICEF to enable them to protect up to 15 million children, young people and their families across Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, and respond rapidly if tropical cyclones hit.”