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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has announced a new initiative to provide sustainable disaster and climate change protection to meet the specific needs of vulnerable children. The programme has been created with the support of WTW, the global advisory, broking, and solutions company.
Children represent the majority affected by disasters, according to the Anticipation Hub, yet this will be the first time that an ex-ante climate disaster risk financing mechanism specifically targets children.
The ground-breaking UNICEF Today and Tomorrow Initiative will invest in climate resilience and anticipatory action for improved cyclone preparedness in select climate-vulnerable countries. This will be complemented by a rapid response to tropical cyclones financed through a pre-arranged parametric insurance policy, designed by WTW and funded with support from the German and UK governments under the newly launched G7-V20 Global Shield against Climate Risks.
The programme is expected to provide at least $100 million of protection over an initial three-year period. Spanning four global regions, the initiative will focus on eight UNICEF host countries–Bangladesh, Comoros, Haiti, Fiji, Madagascar, Mozambique, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu–with all classified as Least Developed Countries (LDCs) or ranking amongst the global top 15 countries at risk from climate-related disasters, or both.
Karin Hulshof, UNICEF deputy executive director for partnerships, said: “The risks of climate change are no longer hypothetical. They are here. And even while we work to build communities’ resilience against climate disasters, we have to become much better in pre-empting risks for our children. We know more climate disasters are in the making. We just do not know where or when they will hit.”
As especially vulnerable population segments of the target countries of the UNICEF Initiative, children fall directly into the 500 million protection target of the V20/G20+ led InsuResilience Global Partnership.
Simon Young, a senior director in the Climate and Resilience Hub at WTW, said: “UNICEF is the first UN institution, as well as one of the largest humanitarian organisations worldwide, to take out a bespoke disaster risk coverage for the protection of children, young people and parents, especially mothers. As such, UNICEF is pioneering proof of concept for other organisations in the field. The decisive action by UNICEF can be a catalyst for more efficient, reliable, and quicker humanitarian crisis finance.”
The WTW parametric policy builds on the specially developed Child Cyclone Index, capturing children’s exposure to tropical cyclone and related relief needs. This is enhanced through inclusion of a minimum payment for smaller events, of at least between $50,000 and $150,000 (varying by country) for any event with a windspeed of at least 39 miles per hour over land/63 kilometers per hour, that is linked to impacts on children and young people.
Conservative estimates by UNICEF and WTW indicate the initiative will benefit 15 million climate vulnerable children, young people, and a large share of women, building the resilience of households and communities to climate shocks.
WTW, UNICEF, climate resilience