Lilongwe, Malawi 01 June, 2023 (AEJ) - A study designed by members of the multi-country project consortium including the think-tank Civil Society Network on Climate Change (CISONECC) and Care Malawi on “Climate and Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance (cdrfi) state of play in Malawi” took stock of activities including institutional framework, implementation approaches and products globally, regionally and locally, regionally and globally.
The study discusses implementation challenges and explores opportunities for CSO’s intervention considering the need for making such interventions for pro – poor populations and the need for gender responsive approach.
“Disaster risk reduction is the responsibility of everyone, it is envisaged that the study will be a useful tool for information, dialogue and advocacy across the board but also all stakeholders in climate and disaster risk financing and insurance including Government, non – governmental organizations, the private sector, development partners and community members in Malawi,” reads in part the study findings.
When Malawi faced a severe drought that affected crops while in the field in 2015/2016. The funding through Africa Risk Capacity (ARC) designed to be delivered swiftly in such cases, a pay – out was not immediately triggered due to inadequate data and associated output based on Africa Risk View.
When asked about his reaction, Julius Ngoma; CISONECC National Coordinator and disaster specialist explained that there has always been a gap in terms of supporting the poor citizens to manage risks. Transferring risk to a third party such as insurance companies, can help them to manage disaster risks. Risk transfer mechanisms, once they are nurtured and managed properly, can help Malawi to reduce climate related 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 disasters.
In a separate interview Lemekeza Mokiwa, CARE Food, Nutrition Security and Climate Change Resilience Program Specialist noted that Malawi is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change 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 population lacks the capacity to proactively finance climate change adaptation, mitigation and climate proofing of infrastructure facilities,” observed Mokiwa in an interview.
Mokiwa argued that main cdrfi activities, processes and policies are not well known by non – state actors and the citizenry at large. He warned that limited knowledge is a function of absence of engagement and dissemination between policy makers and implementers.
“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, implementation 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,” explained Mokiwa when asked for his commentary.
On the social front, Mokiwa added that although the extent of integration of gender equality aspects as part of the conversation on cdrfi is high, practical application of gender equality considerations is generally low demonstrating a gap between policy or theory and implementation.
Mokiwa stressed 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.
“CSOs, private sector and development partners and government need to mutually work together to address social practices that hinder women, girls, youth and other vulnerable smallholder farmers from participating effectively and benefiting from cdrfi initiatives in Malawi. This will ensure a more enhanced involvement of women and other vulnerable groups in the planning processes, in the design and the implementation of cdrfi initiatives that are tailored to address their specific needs,” a concerned Mokiwa expressed fears from the social perspective in the wake of the new findings.
Most troubling is the gender equality gap in the most recent 2019 national disaster risk financing strategy and implementation plan considering that it has been formulated at a time when the pro – poor and gender equality calls in cdrfi are at their peak.
At the recently ended African Development Bank 2023 annual general meeting held in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt under the theme, ‘Mobilizing private sector investment on climate finance and green economic growth,’ AfDB has been eyeing the private sector to transfer to the market the climate risks facing countries, by insuring countries against climatic shocks.
The Africa Disaster Risk Financing Program, which is being implemented in partnership with the Africa Risk Capacity, supports African countries in managing risks of climate disasters through risk profiling, contingency planning, and disaster risk financing.