A team of researchers from The University of the South Pacific (USP) visited Vanua Levu to collect data and conduct research on Climate and Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance (CDRFI).
CDRFI instruments can provide an injection of funds in times of natural disasters and are vital tools for disaster, preparedness, response, and faster recovery.
In a partnership with the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), UN University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and the University of West Indies (UWI), the USP research team sought to understand the risks associated with financing and insurance within grassroots communities.
Divisional Planning Officer North (DPO), Mr Setareki Dakuiboca welcomed the USP research team at the Macuata House and thanked USP for coming on board.
“The collaboration will go a long way, and we’re so fortunate to have USP here with us, and other stakeholders such as the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Fisheries,” he said.
“For the Northern Division, half of our population rely heavily on agriculture and fishing. During the assessment of tropical cyclones Yasa and Ana, most of our fishers and farmers were affected.”
“However, they were not likely to be assisted because there was no micro insurance to cover the loss. With this survey and assessment done with USP, there is a good chance that in the future, some sort of microinsurance will be available to help our farmers, fishermen, and women.”
The USP research team began their field survey by visiting male and female farmers and fishermen in and around the greater Macuata, Labasa area, before moving on to Bua, Kioa Island, Cakaudrove (Savusavu), and Taveuni, interviewing a total of 489 farmers across 22 settlements and 28 villages in Vanua Levu over two weeks.
USP Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Regional Campuses and Global Engagement), Dr Giulio Masasso Tu’ikolongahau Pāunga said the way the project was designed was exactly what was required, especially in these trying times.
“It is critical to consult farmers and stakeholders and obtain the necessary data to understand the needs of the farmers and fishermen. USP’s data collection has a significant impact not only on us as policymakers, but also on farmers,” he said.
UNCDF Programme Manager and Lead Technical Specialist, Mr Krishnan Narasimhan stated that, “This research by USP will feed into new product development and the analysis will inform us about what additional risks need to be covered”.
Mr Narasimhan added, “The inputs from USP will also feed into the global studies, which means that the best practices developed in the Pacific will be integrated into global programming”.
USP is grateful for the support of the Commissioner Northern’s team and the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management, and the Ministry of Agriculture.
The research data will be analysed and presented to the respective partners over the next few weeks. This research project is planned to be replicated in other Pacific countries where USP has campuses and resources, a pathway for greater South-South cooperation and learning.
The research findings will guide the UNCDF-led Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaptation Programme’s (PICAP) work in developing disaster risk financing products for Pacific Island Countries and inform global best practices. A key part of the research was to learn how best to leverage digital technologies to increase access to these products, especially in remote regions. The UNU-EHS and UWI played an important role in shaping the research agenda and providing technical expertise for the project.
PICAP is jointly administered by UNCDF, UNU-EHS and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The Programme receives funding support from the Governments of New Zealand, Australia and additionally from the India-UN Development Partnership fund administered by the UN Office for South-South Cooperation and the Government of Luxembourg through the Drua Incubator.