The threat of large-scale natural disasters and climate is growing across the world, leaving nations increasingly exposed to a myriad of risks.
As a result, many initiatives are under way at the international, regional, national and local levels by a diverse range of stakeholders to better ways to protect human lives and livelihoods, and reduce economic losses.
Human development and settlement patterns, such as growing urban population, wealth and concentration of assets in high-risk regions, determine if and how a natural hazard could turn into a disaster (World Bank Group and United Nations, 2010).
These impacts are further exacerbated by climate change, through changing characteristics of weather-related extremes, sea level rise and other environmental changes (IPCC, 2014; IPCC, 2012).
Whilst for a long time dismissed as ‘acts of God’, these socio-economic impacts can only be reduced through proactive integrated risk management.
Over the last three decades, international policy dialogue on disaster risk reduction (DRR), climate change and sustainable development has advanced, with the goal to address the underpinning causes of these risks.
Golnaraghi et al. (2016) de ne 2015 as a landmark year in bringing clarity and coherence to reshape the global development pathway.
In that year, over 190 Member States adopted three international agreements: (i) the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) (United Nations General Assembly, 2015a) (ii) the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (United Nations General Assembly, 2015b) and (iii) the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC, 2015).
They highlight that, whilst each has its respective priorities for action, their common thread is the recognition of the importance of a cohesive and integrated approach to managing the risks of extreme events and climate across different economic sectors, levels of government and the society as a whole.
Such an approach is risk- informed, and includes ex ante investments,
(i) to reduce risks through early warning systems, emergency preparedness, and preventive measures; and,
(ii) distribute the residual economic risk through risk nancing and risk transfer (e.g. insurance and alternative risk transfer).
This should be augmented with effective post-disaster reconstruction plans to reduce further the risks and build resilience.
Finally, the three framework agreements have, recognised, explicitly or implicitly, the important role of insurance in building economic resilience to extreme events and climate risks.
With governments at the centre of these issues, an increasing number of coordinated multilateral initiatives have been forged over the last decade to raise awareness and enable the implementation of disaster and climate risk management capacities at the international, regional, national and local levels.
These efforts have engaged various stakeholders, including the United Nations, socio-economic groupings, international development community, NGOs, scienti c communities and academia, media agencies and the (re)insurance industry.
An analysis of the complex landscape of stakeholders and initiatives indicates progress along four main areas, namely:
(i) enhancing risk knowledge and expansion of risk assessment capacities to the public sector,
(ii) promoting the integrated approach to disaster and climate risk management,
(iii) developing solutions in disaster risk nancing and risk transfer and
(iv) expanding innovative insurance products in the agriculture sector.
According to Golnaraghi et al. (2016), despite the evident progress and achievements, multi-stakeholder engagement and related initiatives remain highly fragmented.
They stress that development of sustainable and scalable risk management practices could benefit from stronger strategic public–private partnerships that leverage stakeholders’ strengths, avoid redundancies and align priorities.
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