Malawi’s climate and disaster risk discourse lacks the urgency to factor – in the critical elements of risk funding and transfer. The major weakness with the national disaster risk framework policy of 2019 is lack of clarity in advancing pro – poor requirements, especially within the perspective of gender equality in Climate and Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance (Cdrfi) implementation, says the climate think – tank Civil Society Network on Climate Change (CISONECC) in a recently commissioned study.
The study discusses implementation challenges and explores opportunities for CSO’s intervention considering a need for making such interventions pro – poor and gender responsive.
“As disaster risk reduction is the responsibility of everyone, it is envisaged that the study will be a useful tool for information, dialogue and advocacy for all players in climate and disaster risk financing and insurance in Malawi,” the study findings reads in part.
When asked about his reaction, Julius Ngoma, CISONECC National Coordinator hinted that there has always been a gap in terms of supporting poor citizens to manage risks and transfer such to a third party such as insurance companies which can help them to manage disaster risks.
Risk transfer mechanisms, once they are nurtured and managed properly, they can help the country to reduce climate related risks and disasters. Malawi’s focus has largely been response to disasters while managing residue risks has always been a challenge.” He argued that transferring such risks to a third party will assist to strengthen Malawi’s preparedness and aid in response mechanisms as part of building resilience to climate change related challenges.
Lemekeza Mokiwa, CARE International Food, Nutrition Security and Climate Change Resilience Program Specialist explained in a separate interview that Malawi is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change effects because its economy is predominantly agro – based and largely rain – dependent. Considering that the rural population, which is in majority, is poor and directly depends on natural resources for its livelihood, the bulk of this population lacks the capacity to pro – actively finance climate change adaptation, mitigation and proofing activities.
“In Malawi, there is lack of active multi – stakeholder engagement especially for civil society organizations who have generally played a low profile in the design, execution and monitoring and evaluation of Cdrfi interventions. Where engaged, their role has mainly been that of agency for farmer mobilization and delivery of insurance products,” Mokiwa said. Mokiwa explained that the current synergy that exist with InsuResilience Global Partnership is equally emerging in Cdrfi discourse in Malawi hence also affecting the effective integration of core principles namely: impact, quality, ownership, complementarity and equity.
“In Malawi, there is lack of active multi – stakeholder engagement especially for civil society organizations who have generally played a low profile in the design, execution and monitoring and evaluation of Cdrfi interventions. Where engaged, their role has mainly been that of agency for farmer mobilization and delivery of insurance products,” Mokiwa said.
Said Mokiwa, “CSOs, Cdrfi private sector and developing partners including government need to mutually work together to address social practices that hinder women, girls, youth, smallholder farmers and other vulnerable groups from participating effectively and benefiting from the initiative in Malawi.”
In a separate interview, Welton Phalira, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change commentator corroborated with Mokiwa sentiments agreeing Cdrfi as a new concept. It is not surprising therefore he said, why it is not well adopted in policies and strategies in most developing countries Malawi inclusive.
“As a country, we don’t fully understand Cdrfi. The fact that we don’t understand these issues there is no way we can develop well – articulated strategies to address this issue at hand. Successful Cdrfi can only come about after comprehensive capacity building programmes. Only then can we be able to address such issues that affect vulnerable groups like subsistence farmers, women and the disabled together with government and development partners,” Phalira concluded in an interview.