IDF’s Ekhosuehi Iyahen’s call to action as plans begin for COP27

Insurance Development Forum (IDF) secretary general Ekhosuehi Iyahen has said the industry body will focus on implementing many of the initiatives unveiled during COP26 over the coming year.

And speaking exclusively to The Insurer TV, she said the IDF was already turning its attention to COP27 in Egypt and further establishing the role the insurance sector can play in the adaptation process to help build societal resilience.

The IDF, first announced at the COP21 Paris climate talks in 2015 and formally launched the following year, unveiled several initiatives during this month’s COP26 talks in Glasgow.

These included the Global Resilience Index Initiative (GRII), which aims to provide a globally consistent model for the assessment of resilience across all sectors and geographies, curated on an open-source basis.

The IDF also partnered with the V20 group of finance ministers for vulnerable countries to create a Global Risk Modelling Alliance (GRMA), a public-private partnership through which the industry will provide open-source technology and standards.

Iyahen said the IDF would be looking to build public sector support for the latter initiative to help begin to close the risk analytics gaps in many countries in which it operates.

“In many countries, the big decisions related to climate change are being made under tremendous uncertainty – this work is about reducing that uncertainty and supporting those countries in their drive for resilience.”

Iyahen said eight carriers and brokers within the IDF had already committed funds to the GRMA, and said the resources and expertise committed by the industry to this programme were critical to its success.

Ekhosuehi Iyahen, Secretary General, IDF

“We are encouraging IDF members and those companies that are interested in engaging to reach out to us and support this endeavour,” she said.

“They also to make connections with their domestic offices in many of these countries to promote risk modelling standards.”

COP26 – A mixed outcome

Iyahen described the outcome of the recent COP26 talks as mixed, highlighting the lack of a clear path towards limiting global temperature increases to 1.5°C this century.

“That remains a very deep concern for many countries in terms of mitigation ambition,” she said.

“And for adaptation and resilience, there remains concern in terms of the resources being mobilised to support the efforts of countries that are feeling the impacts of climate change already.”

However, for the IDF she said the event had delivered several positives.

“This was the first time adaptation and resilience has risen to the top of the agenda, almost to the same level as mitigation,” she said.

“This bodes well for what we are advocating in the IDF in terms of the importance of adaptation and the role the insurance industry can and must play.”

She said programmes launched by the IDF during the event, such as the GRII and GRMA, were focused on risk and resilience analytics.

“These are central in terms of how these countries better understand the impacts of climate change, and how they use that information to organise resources and better engage with the insurance industry to help develop solutions,” she said.

“We emerged from the event as a trusted partner and institution through which the public sector can engage with the insurance industry and focus on implementation.”

Looking ahead to COP27

Iyahen said 2022 will be a critical year for implementing and scaling up many of the initiatives formulated during 2021.

“2022 for us is about implementation, implementation, implementation,” she said. “There has been a lot of talk. We can have conversations forever, but there is a certain level of frustration seeping into the broader conversation around climate change.

“For us, 2022 is going to be about action and implementing the projects we have committed to.”

She said the IDF will strategically focus on two areas.

Ekhosuehi Iyahen, Secretary General, IDF 2

“Firstly, broadening the call for action around reforms to global risk financing architecture. This is a conversation we have been having within the IDF for some time. We intend to broaden that conversation with public sector partners and the G7 in particular,” she said.

“Second, we are heading towards COP27 in Egypt and we need to focus on implementation and the rise of adaptation and resilience up the agenda.”

She said the IDF had an opportunity as a collective to bring together a multiplicity of institutions to shape that agenda from an insurance perspective.

“We need to establish the relevance of insurance in the adaptation and resilience conversations that will take place in COP27 in Egypt, where it will be quite significant politically given the vulnerabilities that exist in Africa.”