Rich nations study details of massive insurance program to ease Third World climate change damages
Thursday, June 11, 2015
BONN, Germany — Countries already bearing the brunt of extreme weather events are cautiously optimistic about a new insurance scheme designed by the world’s wealthiest nations to protect about 400 million people in the world’s most vulnerable communities.
Official details about the disaster-risk reduction program, announced as part of the Group of Seven (G-7) decisions this week, remain sparse. But a top Munich Re official involved with the plan told ClimateWire that Germany has kicked in with an initial €150 million ($169 million) and other large industrialized countries are expected to follow.
Activists working to raise awareness about the climate-related damages that countries are suffering now — not just years from now — say the insurance program has the potential to do a lot of good. But, they said, more answers are needed about where money will come from and how the mechanism will work.
“I think there’s a lot of good intentions behind it, but it really needs to be done in the right manner. Communities have had a very mixed experience with insurance,” said Sven Harmeling, a climate expert with CARE International.
The G-7 announcement comes amid a long, contentious debate within international climate change discussions about how to compensate countries that are already facing severe economic losses — like Vanuatu, which earlier this year lost about 70 percent of the structures in its capital city when Cyclone Pam struck.