His Excellency, the New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji, Jonathan Curr

The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji, Mr Ariff Ali

Senior Government officials

Members of the diplomatic corps

Representatives from the private sector

Invited guests

Representatives from the media

Ladies and gentlemen

Bula Vinaka and Namaste to you all,

It’s a pleasure to invite you all to this important event to officially launch the Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaptation Programme - PICAP.  I would also like to acknowledge the virtual participants joining through zoom from New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Vanuatu and other parts of the Pacific.

Jointly developed by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the United Nations Development  Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), this programme is the first of its kind that aims to bring market-based climate disaster risk financing instruments such as parametric insurance to address the immediate post-disaster financing needs of vulnerable Pacific islanders.

I will not go into the full details of the programme, which I understand will be highlighted in a short presentation later on.

We are extremely grateful to the New Zealand Government for the funding support to the programme that is being launched today, as well as the funding commitment from the Australian Government.

UNDP and UNCDF have jointly been implementing the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme for over 12 years now. PFIP by providing support to various financial service providers, has enabled over 2 million Pacific islanders to gain access to formal financial services. Microinsurance has been an important part of the suite of financial products supported by PFIP and the success of these interventions resulted in the development of the Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaptation Programme.

UNCDF, UNDP and UNU together bring the right mix of technical expertise, in-country presence, established partnerships with the private sector in the region, support of the Central  Banks, global networks with FinTech and InsurTech companies, reinsurers, all essential to achieve the intended results.

This launch event is the culmination of months of stakeholder consultations, validation workshops, internal discussions, several iterations of the programme document with donors and navigating the COVID-19 related delays, finally, we are all here. The vaccine to safeguard against COVID-19 is expected in the next few months, however for the Pacific, we have to live with the reality of climate change and frequent natural hazards, there are no vaccines for those.

Only solutions developed by programmes such as the one we are about to launch today offer some hope and I am excited to see the outcomes.

I once again welcome all of you to this launch event and would like to take this opportunity to also wish you a happy holiday season.

Vinaka.

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