[Recap] The World Bank’s Crisis and Disaster Risk Finance Unit at Understanding Risk 2024 Global Forum

Jun 27

At the recent “Understanding Risk 2024 Global Forum”, held in Himeji, Japan, the World Bank’s Crisis and Disaster Risk Finance team, in collaboration with the Global Shield Financing Facility, showcased its contributions to the global disaster risk finance (DRF) agenda. Over four days, from June 17 to June 21, the forum convened global leaders and experts in disaster risk management and finance. Each day was dedicated to exploring different dimensions of financial resilience against natural disasters, from strengthening infrastructural resilience to leveraging innovative financial strategies during crises. Prominent speakers from diverse backgrounds shared their valuable insights and experiences, fostering a dynamic environment for learning and exchanging knowledge on designing financial protection strategies against the threats posed by natural disasters.

Day 1

The “Global Knowledge Exchange on Disaster Risk Finance for Resilient Infrastructure” session focused on enhancing the resilience of infrastructures through innovative financial strategies and policies. Discussions centred around the need for resilient infrastructures to withstand natural disasters, which impose significant economic costs on low- and middle-income countries. Hang Thu Vu (Senior Financial Sector Specialist, World Bank Group [WBG]), facilitated the opening and thematic discussions, emphasizing the role of DRF in securing infrastructural resilience.

Shunichi Takenaka (Director of Promotion of Regional Financial Cooperation, Ministry of Finance, Japan) and Cecile Thioro Niang (Practice Manager for East Asia and Pacific, WBG), in their opening remarks, underscored the critical need for robust infrastructure finance strategies.

The first thematic segment, moderated by Sumati Rajput (Senior Financial Sector Specialist, WBG), saw Hang delving into the strategies, policies, legal frameworks, and institutional readiness necessary for DRF for resilient infrastructures. Robert Dominick E. Mariano (Head of Research Service, Bureau of the Treasury, Philippines), shared detailed insights into his country's public financial management strategies for resilient infrastructures, highlighting practical implementations and lessons learned.

Following this, the session transitioned to discussions on government-supported programs for DRF. Megumi Muto (Vice President, Japan International Cooperation Agency) spoke about combining disaster risk reduction with DRF to invest in resilient infrastructure, presenting a case for integrated approaches to resilience building and stressed on the need for strong governance and institutional frameworks to support these initiatives. Idris Aswin (Deputy Director at the Directorate General of State Asset Management, Ministry of Finance, Indonesia), outlined Indonesia's strategies for risk transfer for public assets, providing a concrete example of national-level efforts to secure financial sustainability against natural disasters.

Industry perspectives were then introduced by Masaaki Nagamura (Fellow for International Initiatives, Tokio Marine), who discussed public-private partnerships and market-based instruments for mobilizing private capital for resilient infrastructures. Benedikt Signer (Advisor to the Board at the Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Insurance Facility [SEADRIF]), presented a regional case study on risk pooling for resilient infrastructures in ASEAN+3, offering insights into regional cooperation and financial pooling mechanisms. The day concluded with discussions on the role of data analytics and technology in DRF, led by Shoko Takemoto (Disaster Risk Management Specialist, WBG) and case studies from Abdeljalil El Hafre (Head of the Insurance and Social Welfare Division, Treasury and External Finance Department, Ministry of Economy, Finance and Administration, Morocco) and Edmond Lo (Director of the Institute of Catastrophe Risk Management, Nanyang Technological University), who discussed the integration of analytics in Morocco's DRF strategies and risk modeling for public sector buildings in ASEAN, respectively.

Day 2

The “Financial Resilience in Times of Crisis - Strategies from Finance Perspectives" plenary session, led by Sumati Rajput, showcased a critical discussion on how various nations strategize and implement financial instruments to safeguard against natural disasters and other crises.

Hideaki Imamura (Group Executive Director for Japan, WBG) set the tone for an engaging dialogue on financial resilience. Chevanne Britton (Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Grenada), discussed the challenges small island states face in establishing financial protection solutions while Abdeljalil El Hafre explained Morocco's approach to establishing a solidarity fund. He discussed the fund's structure for layering risk and its response to varying disaster intensities, including Morocco's recent experience with an earthquake. Donalyn Minimo (Finance Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Philippines), detailed the Philippines' use of risk transfer solutions, including sovereign insurance and capital market instruments. Malie Tarbwilin (Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Marshall Islands), shared recent actions taken by the country on proactive DRF, discussing the challenges and lessons learned.

Day 3

The “A Look Back and a Look Forward on Risk Pools: Perspectives from Countries Globally” session offered a comprehensive overview and discussion of risk pooling mechanisms employed across different regions, with a focus on enhancing DRF and insurance solutions.

Naruhiko Sugiura (Ministry of Finance, Japan) opened the session with remarks on the country’s initiatives and support for international DRF efforts, including contributions to SEADRIF and the APEC DRFI-WG. Hang Thu Vu delivered a framing presentation on what risk pooling entails, its value proposition, and an overview of existing risk pools.

Harold Lewis (Debt Manager, Ministry of Finance, St. Vincent and the Grenadines) shared his country’s experiences with the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility. The session also featured a presentation by Tonga on the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Company's impact and operational insights in the Pacific islands. Ephod Kachigwada (Principal Disaster Response Officer, Department of Disaster Management Affairs, Malawi), detailed the country’s participation in the Africa Risk Capacity Limited, highlighting the operational successes and ongoing challenges in managing disaster risks through pooled funds. Somxay Keovandy (Director of the Planning and Development Division, Department of State-Owned Enterprises Reform and Insurance, Laos), discussed the approaches that have and haven’t worked in Southeast Asia.

The session also featured an interactive exercise where participants reflected on their DRF priorities and the role of risk pools relevant to their regions. The session concluded with reflections led by Olivier Mahul (Practice Manager, Crisis & Disaster Risk Finance Unit, WBG).

Day 4

The “Global Knowledge Exchange on Training Preprogram on Enabling Environment and Progress Assessment (EEPA) Tool” session was hosted by WBG in collaboration with SEADRIF member countries. This session aimed to support planning for the financial protection of public assets, focusing on the EEPA Tool. This tool provides a structured approach to managing the financial impact of disasters on public assets, integrating risk assessment and financial preparedness into government planning processes.

Jonathan Chan (Monetary Authority of Singapore) co-hosted the opening segment with Sumati Rajput, emphasizing the importance of robust financial protection mechanisms for public assets. Hang Thu Vu moderated the session.

Sumati presented a framing presentation on the EEPA Tool, outlining how it can aid public officials in assessing and enhancing their public asset financial protection strategies. Indonesia User Experience Presentation: Idris Aswin shared insights from the Indonesian government's pilot experience with the Tool, discussing its practical applications and impact on the country’s DRF strategies.

Greg Fowler (Senior Disaster Risk Financing Consultant, WBG) provided a detailed walkthrough of the EEPA Tool, including a practical demonstration, helping participants understand how to effectively use the tool in their respective contexts. The session also included interactive group activities, wherein participants engaged with the EEPA Tool directly, applying it to hypothetical scenarios to better understand its functionality and benefits.

Over the 4 days, the forum facilitated a rich exchange of knowledge and experiences, focusing on actionable DRF strategies to improve financial resilience worldwide, highlighting the World Bank’s commitment to advancing the global DRF agenda.


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