“Start of a mutually beneficial partnership:” UNCDF, USP, UNU-EHS, UWI Launch Joint Research Project on Climate and Disaster Risk Insurance


In a partnership truly symbolising the ideals of South-South cooperation, The University of the South Pacific (USP), UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), The University of West Indies (UWI), and the UN University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) have launched a joint research project to improve climate and disaster risk insurance products in the Pacific and Caribbean regions.

Based in the Caribbean, the UWI is one of only two regional universities in the world – with USP being the other — and will be contributing to the design of field surveys and research articles.

UNCDF has formed a partnership with the two regional universities to work together on this fast-developing and important space that needs to be underpinned by sound, data-driven research going forward.

The research outcomes will inform UNCDF’s work in creating disaster risk financing products for disaster-prone countries and leverage digital technologies to increase access to these products.

The UNU-EHS will play a significant role in shaping the research agenda and providing technical expertise for the project, while leveraging their existing relationship with UWI through projects in the Caribbean.

“The coming together of two regional Universitiesfrom the Caribbean and the Pacificto work jointly with UNCDF on a research agenda focusing on Climate Disaster Risk Insurance is a classic example of how developing countries from the two regions can share knowledge, skills and expertise to address development challenges that are unique to their geographies” said Preeti Sinha, UNCDF Executive Secretary.

The project will be led by senior faculty from USP’s Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD), who, with support from Graduate students, will:

  1. Carry out mixed methods research to support evidence based improvements or variations to the insurance product design; and
  2. Publish policy briefs and academic articles based on the research

USP Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Regional Campuses and Global Engagement), Dr Giulio Masasso Tu’ikolongahau Pāunga said: “We are indeed excited to be collaborating with UNCDF together with, the UWI and UNU in what promises to be the start of a significant and mutually beneficial partnership.

“The results from this research will have regional and global applications which I am confident will reliably inform the development of climate and disaster risk insurance for many years to come.”

The field surveys will cover approximately 400 respondents from Cakaudrove and/or Macuata in Northern Fiji and is expected to be completed this month, with the analysis and initial findings expected by May 2022.

The main objectives of the research is to inform activities of the Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaptation Programme (PICAP) and shape future interventions in the following areas:

  1. Product design/product variant research – To determine what product features and designs should be developed or improved to better meet the needs of the target groups.
  2. Gender – To determine how the uptake of disaster risk finance (DRF) instruments among women can be increased through product design, outreach & education, distribution channels, marketing and so on.
  3. Low-income groups – To determine how the uptake of DRF instruments among low-income groups can be increased through product design, outreach and education, distribution channels, marketing and so on.
  4. Digital technologies – To determine how the usage of digital technologies for buying insurance products, collecting premiums, and making payments can be increased and maximised.

PICAP is jointly administered by UNCDF, UNU and the UN Development Programme.

The programme receives funding support from the governments of New Zealand and Australia, and Luxembourg’s Climate and Energy Fund. The Fiji component is additionally funded by the Indian Government through the India-UN Development Partnership Fund and the UN Office for South-South Cooperation under the project name, “Developing Climate Disaster Risk Financing Framework and Parametric Insurance.”

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