July 28, 2022

Deep Collaboration Critical to Addressing Climate Crisis

Insights International

Pursuing Better Together with Daniel Stander Transcript

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Pursuing Better Together with Daniel Stander

In the latest episode of Arch’s new Pursuing Better Together podcast series, we talk climate with Daniel Stander and how industry and governmental bodies must work more closely together to tackle climate-change impacts, particularly on more vulnerable communities.

As Special Adviser to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Daniel inhabits “a unique space” and is involved in various initiatives aimed at delivering “an equitable response to climate risk that is both sustainable and leaves no one behind”.

The frequency and severity of extreme weather events continue to shift in concerning ways. Exposure is increasing – and increasingly concentrated. More and more people are vulnerable to the impacts of climate and other risks, and mitigation measures are failing to keep pace.

“The risk is increasing faster than the mitigative measures,” Daniel said, “and this means that the protection gap – the difference between an economic loss for an event and the insured loss – is widening. We’re struggling as a society to even maintain the status quo.”

Highlighting the “complex set of interdependencies” in the contexts ranging from supply chain disruption through to forced displacement of people, he said, “Thinking about ways in which we can address the totality of these impacts is going to be very important.”

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, introduced the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These seek to address vital issues by, for example, ending poverty, hunger and gender inequality. Daniel, however, foregrounds the importance of Goal 17 – Partnerships for the Goals.

“The complexity and scale of the challenge are so great that no constituency – public or private – can resolve these issues alone. Only through deep collaboration do we have any chance of addressing the climate crisis, let alone doing so in a way that drives equity, especially for the most vulnerable.”

“Only through deep collaboration do we have any chance of addressing the climate crisis, let alone doing so in a way that drives equity, especially for the most vulnerable.”

However, uniting the public and private sectors in collective climate endeavours, he acknowledges, is no easy undertaking.

“Trying to create fora where the public sector can more easily enter dialogue with and, where necessary, contract with the private sector, but equally in which the private sector can with a single voice talk to the public sector in a coherent way that transcends competitive dynamics, is incredibly important.”

“Once you have that then you can find common ground; you can find alignment to better understand respective motives, coming together in ways not just good for the parties, but for the wider societal outcomes they are trying to achieve.”

Highlighting the work of the UNDP under Achim Steiner’s leadership, Daniel singled out the establishment of the Insurance and Risk Finance Facility (IRFF), a flagship UNDP initiative designed to protect the vulnerable from socioeconomic, climate and health-related disasters, through elevating and integrating insurance and risk financing in development thus building financial resilience and safeguarding sustainable development

He also flagged work by the Insurance Development Forum (IDF), a public/private partnership between the insurance industry and multilateral institutions to harness risk management capabilities to bolster resilience in vulnerable communities. With funding from the German Government, the IDF and UNDP recently announced a project with the Ghanaian Ministry of Finance to develop a risk transfer scheme for urban floods in Accra, especially for poor and vulnerable people. “Such developments,” Daniel said, “take time and effort. They require technical expertise, but also hard yards on the ground.”

Critical in adding impetus to such developments, he noted, was a broadening of the resilience focus. “There has been a shift in the debate in the climate arena; from one solely focused on mitigation to one that is also focused on adaptation. We need to be putting in place adaptive measures that help absorb climate impacts.”

Considering the climate crisis in the context of ‘Pursuing Better Together’ and the need to create the right fora to stimulate momentum, he said, “All three aspects are so important: the Pursuit, the Better and the Together”.

“That relentless pursuit and the need to aim high is essential. Kaizen, the Japanese word for continuous improvement, is vital too. But we won’t get anywhere by ourselves. As the old saying goes: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together’.”

“Another important saying is, ‘It’s impossible to hate up close’. You need to look at people and understand them as individuals. But you need the confidence to engage them, and to lay yourself bare to them and allow them to feel comfortable laying themselves bare to you. And it’s that ability to express vulnerability, which I think is the basis of trust. Without trust there is no collaboration, but without vulnerability there is no trust.”

About Arch Insurance International Podcasts

Welcome to Arch Insurance Insights podcasts, available on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

During our Pursuing Better Together series, we’ll hear from luminaries both inside and outside of the insurance industry about how they have “pursued better” within their chosen professions.