World Bank offers to assist APEC in disaster risk financing
MANILA, Philippines — The World Bank has offered to assist the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in crafting solutions that would ensure the region is financially resilient against disasters and calamities, the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday.
In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Finance Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez said the World Bank has expressed willingness to assist the Philippines carry out its role as chair of the APEC Working Group on Disaster Risk Financing Solutions.
Alvarez said the WB has commended the Philippines for being one of the leaders in developing viable measures for disaster risk financing during the working group’s recent meeting in Hoi An, Vietnam.
The meeting was conducted to discuss APEC’s working plan on disaster risk finance for 2018.
“All the economies present recognized that disaster risk financing and insurance is a very important and timely topic given the new norm of growing intensity of disasters,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said representatives from the US, Indonesia, Vietnam, Peru and New Zealand have expressed their willingness to participate in the APEC working group. She said Chile and Thailand are also interested to join, with the former raising the possibility of inviting Mexico and Colombia to participate in the initiative.
“Japan, which was also present, likewise expressed support to the Philippines by agreeing to be the co-chair of the Group,” the official said.
Indonesia, for its part, said it wanted to integrate disaster risk financing into its financial policies.
Alvarez said the APEC Business Advisory Council committed its support in promoting the role of the private sector in providing disaster risk financing and insurance solutions, particularly in microinsurance.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development also suggested for the working group to tackle the interrelationship of fiscal policies and disaste risk reduction and management.
Alvarez said the next meeting of the working group is tentatively scheduled in the first quarter of 2018 in Papua New Guinea.
According to the DOF, the group plays a “crucial” role in crafting measures and strategies to financially protect the APEC member-economies against disasters, or allow them to immediately bounce back after calamities.