UN unveils plans to maximise disaster resilience


The increase in public/private partnerships and the convergence of the financial and insurance markets will play a large part in the United Nation’s (UN) disaster resilience planning in the coming months.

Speaking at the UN Financial & Private Sector Disaster Resilience Global Summit, Rowan Douglas, chair of the UN HFA Private & Financial Sector Working Group, began discussions by explaining the driving forces behind the revised 2015 framework, which he hopes to be introduced in September 2015.

“There are many forces driving the framework, among those are regulation and incentives as well as best business practice,” he said. “Also, after ten long years we’re finally seeing the insurance and finance sector converging.”

Douglas also mentioned the recent downgrade of the reinsurance sector by rating agency Moody’s, saying that it represented a huge disconnect within the industry.

“Moody’s downgraded the sector as a result of increased competition, which it presumed would lead to decreased premiums. This just shows the huge disconnect that’s going on,” he said.

Tomas Christensen from the UN followed Douglas’ discussions on the efforts behind the framework, speaking of the UN’s focus on three key areas in the future.

“We will be looking at finalising the 2015 framework, defining global development goals and increasing the importance and focus on climate change,” he said.

“Climate change protection is a huge investment, but we can achieve growth and protect the environment at the same time.

“We need to work together to align science with politics and bring the world onto the desired path. We need to bring action and solution into the same room with heads of state to show them what’s in the best interests of their countries.”

Increasing public and private partnerships was also a key issue among discussions.

“Around 75-80 percent of investment is generated from the private sector. We need to encourage more public/private partnerships and bring this forward,” said Christensen. “You can do a lot as a sector and lot to help the world.”

Madelyn Antoncic, treasurer of the World Bank, agreed with Christensen and spoke of the continued momentum of disaster risk planning, saying that disaster risk had now reached a sense of urgency on the agenda of companies.

“Disaster risk is now viewed with a sense of urgency, and rightly so,” she said.

Antoncic said that in smaller countries, natural disaster losses could account for 100 percent of the country’s GDP, an issue which must be addressed.

“These events expose governments to serious fiscal instability,” she said. “Improvements in technology and development of standards and frameworks for managing catastrophe risk must continue to develop.”

UN, Rowan Douglas, Tomas Christensen, World Bank, Madelyn Antoncic

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