Tuesday, April 28, 2015

APEC meeting in Bacolod to center on disaster risk finance

Officials and delegates from member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) will tackle disaster risk financing when they meet at the SMX Convention Center here on April 29 to 30.

The discussion, which carries the theme "Disaster Risk Finance-APEC Roadmap of Resilient Economies," is jointly organized by the Department of Finance, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The discussion opens on Wednesday with a session on the microfinance landscape in the Asia-Pacific region that seeks to provide a background for APEC member economies, using the Microinsurance Network’s World Map of Microinsurance (WMM).

It is a platform for knowledge generation and sharing on microinsurance. Participants will study key developments in the microinsurance market covering market development strategies, financial education, and trends in the use of traditional and innovative models, among others.

In the second session on Wednesday, delegates will deliberate on how to push the frontiers of microfinance, and showcase innovations in the sector, including those in agricultural insurance, mobile-based and other types of distribution channels, and parametric- or index-based microinsurance.

It will discuss the requirements for facilitating the expansion of these innovations, including appropriate infrastructure, internal capabilities, and external partnerships.

The meeting also aims to tackle the possibility of collaboration between government and industry, based on experiences within and outside the APEC.

In the succeeding session, attendees will discuss the role of microfinance in responding to calamities, which is a concern among poor APEC member economies.

The session will focus on the role of microinsurance in helping individual households address their needs, such as rebuilding of houses, access to capital to restart businesses, and securing funds for daily subsistence, once disaster strikes.

After that, the delegates will consider ways to move forward as APEC member economies incorporate microfinance in the Cebu Action Plan, which will be launched in September.

The session will examine the options for moving forward, including proposed activities and timelines.

The last session on Wednesday will be “Disaster Risk Finance: An Overview of the Current Situation and International Initiatives.”

On Thursday, April 30, participants will discuss “Institutional Arrangements for Disaster Risk Mitigation and Adaptation.”

In the wake of disasters, governments are the first responders at various levels and must undertake immediate resumption of basic services to accelerate recovery and provide relief measures for local communities.

This session will look into the budget and institutional arrangements for mitigation and adaptation; assess the importance of raising public awareness; and identify measures that will facilitate the functioning of disaster risk finance, focusing on risk education and awareness, business continuity plans for small enterprises, businesses’ risk-informed investments, and how to maximize the use of risk information.

The session will also explore potential regional initiatives to support disaster risk financing, and examine such regional initiatives as the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility in the hope of developing ideas that could be adopted by APEC member economies.

It will also seek to identify ways to address the lack of available data, which is a major impediment in the evaluation of disaster risk.

Issues such as the collection and disclosure of relevant regional, domestic and local data, including hazard, exposure and vulnerability; the establishment, adjustment and disclosure of municipal level hazard maps; and the use of disaster risk models will also be given special attention.

The last session on Thursday will discuss the way forward for disaster risk finance in the Cebu Action Plan. (PCOO News Release)

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