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Pro-poor climate risk insurance: the role of community-based organisations

12. September 2018 - 15:54
In the face of increasingly frequent extreme weather events, the need to manage climate risk becomes more urgent, especially for the most vulnerable countries and communities. With the aim of reducing vulnerability, climate risk transfer in the form of climate risk insurance (CRI) has been gaining attention in climate policy discussions. When properly designed, CRI acts as a safety net against climate change impacts by providing financial support after an extreme weather event. Two main types of insurance enable payouts: indemnity (traditional) insurance or predefined parameters (index-based) insurance. Individuals, groups, or even governments may take out policies with either type of insurance and receive payouts directly (insurer to beneficiary payout) or indirectly (insurer to aggregator to beneficiary payout). Direct insurance is usually implemented at the micro-level with individual policyholders. Indirect insurance is usually implemented through group contracts at the meso-level through risk aggregators and at the macro-level through the state.
While promising, risk transfer in the form of CRI also has its share of challenges. Within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the lack of accessibility and afford¬ability of CRI for poor and vulnerable groups have been identified as barriers to uptake. In light of climate justice, asking the poor and climate-vulnerable groups - most of whom do not contribute substantially to anthropogenic climate change - to solely carry the financial burden of risk transfer is anything but just. Employing a human rights-based approach to CRI may ensure that the resilience of poor and climate-vulnerable groups is enhanced in a climate-just manner.
Indigenous peoples are some of the poorest and most climate vulnerable groups. Often marginalised, they rarely have access to social protection. The strong communal relationship of indigenous peoples facilitates their participation in community-based organisations (CBOs). CBOs are a suitable vehicle for meso-insurance, in which risk is aggregated and an insurance policy belongs to a group. In this way, CBOs can facilitate service provision that would otherwise be beyond the reach of individuals.
Conclusions of this briefing paper draw on a conceptual analysis of meso-insurance and the results of field research conducted in March 2018 with indigenous Palaw’ans in the Philippines. We find that CRI needs to be attuned to the differential vulnerabilities and capacities of its beneficiaries. This is particularly true for poor and vulnerable people, for whom issues of accessibility and affordability need to be managed, and human rights and pro-poor approaches need to be ensured. In this context, meso-insurance is a promising approach when it provides accessibility and affordability and promotes a pro-poor and human rights-based approach of risk transfer by:
  • Properly identifying and involving target beneficiaries and duty-bearers by employing pro-poor and human rights principles.
  • Employing measures to improve the financial literacy of target beneficiaries.
  • Designing insurance models from the bottom up.
Kategorien: english

Meeting Africa’s employment challenge in a changing world

12. September 2018 - 8:47
Around 2031, Africa’s working-age population will pass the 1-billion threshold. This growing workforce will require decent productive employment. So far, Africa’s economies have largely failed to create stable and well-paid jobs. For any one person working in the formal private sector, 10 work in the informal economy. Failure to generate sufficient formal-sector jobs for young people will increase migration and global security challenges.
Creating decent jobs at the scale required is inconceivable without a structural transformation that enables workers to move from low-productivity agriculture and informal trades to modern manufacturing or service sectors. Such a transformation took place in some East Asian countries, but no comparable dynamic has so far been observed anywhere in Africa. What’s more, the region has already started to deindustrialise at a stage when industry has not yet really taken off.
What, then, are the prospects for Africa’s economic future? Where should the millions of decent jobs the region urgently needs come from? We suggest exploring this not by extrapolating past trends, but by analysing how certain – potentially disruptive – global trends impact on African economies:
  • Natural resources are being depleted globally while the world population increases, becomes more affluent and demands higher-value food. Also, the global bioeconomy is likely to boost demand for fuel substitutes. This creates opportunities for countries with underutilised land resources.
  • Urbanisation and the expansion of African middle classes will boost and diversify demand, creating opportunities for local consumer industries. Trends towards sustainable smart cities also hold promises for African entrepreneurs in transport, electronics, the construction industry and other sectors.
  • New digital technologies improve connectivity. Some digital innovations enable African producers to tap into hitherto inaccessible markets, whereas others may lead to automation and global market concentration at the expense of African producers.
  • China’s rapidly increasing wages may lead to the relocation of labour-intensive industries to African countries with low unit labour costs – unless China uses auto¬mation to keep them at home.
  • The imperative of reducing the world economy’s material footprint may create new opportunities, such as in low-input agriculture or electrification based on low-cost renewable energy. At the same time, it creates the risk of enormous capital losses in high-carbon and other unsustainable technologies.
We do not know exactly how these trends will play out for individual African countries. Yet some trends will be game-changing. Hence, we recommend systematic efforts to explore them, with the aim of identifying competitive opportunities and taking strategic action early on. We identify some opportunities in manu¬facturing and services that we expect to become important (while recognising big differences across the region). We also suggest complementary investments in productivity and employment for the large proportion of the workforce not easily and immediately employable in competitive industries.


Kategorien: english

The devil is in the detail: administrative and fiscal challenges in implementing River Basin Management in Mongolia

29. August 2018 - 8:16
The concept of river basin management calls for managing water resources at the river basin level in order to promote the sustainable use of water resources. Often this goes along with the introduction of river basin organisations (RBOs) as special purpose organisations. However, particularly in developing countries, RBOs often suffer from insufficient funds. Fiscal decentralisation involves shifting certain fiscal responsibilities to lower levels of government. Decentralisation could thus provide a source of funding for RBOs, depending on how tasks and funds are allocated among RBOs and general-purpose jurisdictions. This briefing paper examines administrative and fiscal aspects of river basin management and analyses whether fiscal decentralisation supports or counteracts the funding of river basin management. We present the example of Mongolia, where in recent years the processes of RBO institutionalisation and fiscal decentralisation have occurred in parallel. More specifically, we analyse i) how competencies for various water governance functions between RBOs and other bodies at the sub-national level are formally allocated, ii) which de jure and de facto funding arrangements are in place, and iii) what this implies for the coordination and sustainability of water resource use.
We find that despite a broad division of labour among administrative units, a high level of overlap exists, for instance in the areas of data management, water law enforcement and implementation of water protection measures.
In terms of financing water governance, River Basin Authorities (RBAs) are primarily financed through the national budget and aimag (province-level) environmental authorities (AEAs) through sub-national province budgets. However, uncertainties exist regarding the allocation of water-use fees. In practice, funds available to RBAs only cover fixed costs. AEAs have somewhat higher budgets, but do not necessarily use these funds for water-related projects nor do they earmark water-use fees. Inconsistent legal provisions on water-use fees have led to competition between AEAs and RBAs, but also to initial collaborative arrangements. We conclude that in Mongolia, fiscal decentralisation and river basin management are, so far, hardly mutually supportive and we recommend a number of legal and financial adjustments. In particular, we recommend that
  • responsibilities be distributed more clearly to reduce overlap and uncertainty;
  • legal inconsistencies regarding water-use fees be clarified;
  • funding be arranged according to tasks; and
  • funding for RBAs be increased and minimum state-funding be provided to river basin councils (RBCs), so they can fulfil their mandates.
Kategorien: english

Scope and structure of German official development assistance: trends and implications for the BMZ and other ministries

11. Juli 2018 - 7:38
The structure of German Official Development Assistance (ODA) is in a state of transition. Germany’s growing international role, the increasing importance of climate issues as well as the refugee crisis are contributing greatly to a significant increase in German ODA, which has more than doubled since 2012 and amounted to around EUR 22 billion in 2017. The coalition agreement between the CDU/CSU and the SPD in 2018 has prioritised ODA-eligible expenditures and views development policy as a priority area. Significant changes can also be seen with regard to the scope and pattern of ODA expenditures:
The budget of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and its share of the federal budget have increased due to an upvaluation of development cooperation (DC). At the same time, the BMZ’s portion in Germany’s overall ODA fell from 73 per cent in 1995 to 33 per cent in 2016. Nonetheless, projections for 2017 based on the second government draft for the 2018 budget indicate a trend reversal. Projection for 2017: BMZ 37 per cent, with KfW market funds 45 per cent; Federal Foreign Office (AA) 14 per cent; Projection for 2018: BMZ 49 per cent, with KfW market funds 53 per cent; AA 13 per cent.
ODA-eligible contributions of other federal ministries have increased significantly. Both the ODA-eligible portion of the EU budget and the development policy contributions of the federal states have doubled since 1995. Market funds mobilised via the KfW as well as the eligible expenditures for refugees in Germany have been particularly important at times.
The following interpretations can be drawn based on those trends:
Largely positive interpretation from a development policy perspective: Development cooperation has become more important in recent years and is no longer a comparatively small area of activity that relates exclusively to the BMZ. New challenges have resulted from other ministries having a much stronger interest in maintaining and using resources for development cooperation. Germany’s ODA contributions have thus risen overall and the BMZ’s share of the budget has increased.
Largely critical interpretation from a development policy perspective: The distribution of funds among a larger number of actors is making it difficult to pursue a coherent development policy approach, and other policy areas are not primarily aimed at development policy objectives due to their tasks and interests. The current situation implies a loss of importance for the BMZ and thus the original development policy area.
Due to a rise in ODA contributions and the growing importance of a wide variety of development policy actors in Germany, there is now an increased need for greater coordination. The following is therefore recommended:
  • conduct systematic development policy reviews of all ODA projects of all ministries
  • more intensively coordinate Germany’s ODA con¬tributions through the BMZ in a steering group
  • concentrate ODA funds more towards the BMZ, which is the specialised department in development policy.


Kategorien: english

Reposicionar al UNDS, ¿pero dónde? – Propuestas para estar a la altura de los Países de Renta Media

20. Juni 2018 - 14:47

Después de intensas negociaciones, la Asamblea General ha respaldado la reforma del Sistema de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (UNDS por su sigla en inglés). La mayoría de los actores en Nueva York, incluidos el Secretario General António Guterres y los Embajadores ante las Naciones Unidas, se muestran optimistas de que el UNDS cumplirá con los múltiples atributos que le reclamó la Asamblea General en previas ocasiones (“más estratégico, responsable, transparente, colaborativo, eficiente, eficaz y orientado hacia los resultados”).

Sin embargo, la verdadera prueba de fuego para la reforma tendrá lugar en los países. Los gobiernos instan al UNDS a apoyar la implementación nacional de la Agenda 2030 para el Desarrollo Sostenible. En particular, el grupo cada vez diverso de Países de Renta Media (PRM) demanda una colaboración más eficaz por parte de las agencias, comisiones, fondos y programas de la ONU en torno al desarrollo sostenible. De hecho, la Agenda 2030 y el papel de las Naciones Unidas en el éxito de la misma dependen, en gran medida, de los avances en los PRM de ambos sub-rangos: renta media baja y alta.

En efecto, todos los elementos esenciales de la Agenda 2030 están bajo presión en los PRM:

Sus economías se encuentran en plena transición desde la supervivencia hacia la prosperidad. Sus sociedades enfrentan una gran desigualdad al tiempo que modernización acelerada, y sus ecosistemas están bajo una presión demográfica y económica extrema. Los PRM también están luchando con desafíos transversales cada vez más urgentes, como la resiliencia climática, la migración, la seguridad y el estado de derecho.

A pesar de las demandas específicas de los PRM y su relevancia para el desarrollo sostenible, el UNDS sigue siendo en gran medida incapaz de atender sus prioridades estratégicas y operacionales. El UNDS no es el único actor de desarrollo que apoya a los PRM, pero necesita convertirse en un socio valioso para los gobiernos, especial­mente con vistas a asesorar y apoyar la implementación de la Agenda 2030 bajo el liderazgo de los gobiernos. Para aprovechar el momento actual del desarrollo global, la reforma en curso debe impulsar al UNDS para que esté a la altura de los PRM, comenzando con las siguientes áreas de acción:

1.       Un sistema totalmente alineado con las prioridades de los PRM: El UNDS debe estar al día con las iniciativas de los países en términos de gobernanza, planificación, estadísticas, y asociaciones.

2.       Proporcionar apoyo relevante de alta calidad: Más allá del enfoque de pobreza, el UNDS debe mejorar sus capacidades para prestar apoyo relevante a las prioridades nacionales cada vez más complejas de los PRM.

3.       Convertir la financiación en máxima prioridad: El UNDS tiene un papel clave que desempeñar para apoyar a los PRM expuestos a múltiples desafíos financieros, desde la decreciente Ayuda Oficial para el Desarrollo (AOD) a la deuda insostenible.

Kategorien: english

Repositioning but where – Is the UNDS fit for middle-income countries?

18. Juni 2018 - 15:57
After intense negotiations, the United Nations General Assembly has endorsed the reform of the United Nations Development System (UNDS). Most players in New York, including Secretary-General António Guterres and ambassadors to the United Nations, are optimistic that the UNDS will now take the multi-adjective route requested by the General Assembly (“more strategic, accountable, effective, transparent, collaborative, efficient, effective and result-oriented”). However, the reform’s actual litmus test will take place at the country level. Governments are expecting the UNDS to support the domestic implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The ever-expanding and diverse family of middle-income countries (MICs), in particular are demanding increased and better engagement with the UN agencies, commissions, funds and programmes working on sustainable development challenges and opportunities. Indeed, the 2030 Agenda and the UN’s role in the agreement’s success are to a large degree dependent on progress in both lower and upper MICs. All essential elements of the 2030 Agenda are under stress in MICs: The MICs economies are transitioning from survival to prosperity; their societies are facing stark inequality and accelerated modernisation, and their ecosystems are under extreme demographic and economic pressure. MICs also are struggling with increasingly urgent cross-sector challenges, such as climate resilience, migration, security and rule of law. Despite the relevance and specific demands of MICs, the UNDS remains largely incapable of catering to their priorities at strategic and operational levels. The UNDS is not the only development actor that supports MICs in their efforts, but it needs to become a valuable partner for governments, especially in advising and supporting government-led implementation of the 2030 Agenda. To seize the momentum of global development, the ongoing reform must make the system “fit for MICs,” starting with the following fields of action: 1.     Fully align with MICs priorities: the UNDS needs to be up to speed with country initiatives in terms of governance, planning, statistics and partnerships. 2.     Provide relevant high-quality support: Beyond the poverty lens, UNDS should increase its capacities to deliver support that is relevant to complex national priorities of MICS. 3.     Make financing a top priority: the UNDS has a key role to play in supporting MICs exposed to manifold financing challenges, from decreasing Official Develop¬ment Assistance (ODA) to unsustainable debt.
Kategorien: english