We’re delighted to announce the publication of Adapting to a New Normal, the latest annual paper that presents the outcomes of the European Microfinance Award 2019 on ‘Strengthening Resilience to Climate Change’. Adapting to a New Normal is part of an Award publication series, produced since 2008, that details the issues and challenges of that year’s Award topic, summarises the Award process, profiles the Award semi-finalists and their relevant initiatives, and extracts factors for success that distinguish these programmes. More than ever, the lessons from the 2019 Award on how to protect clients, staff and institutions from external crises are especially relevant as a Covid-threatened sector seeks to adapt today to not just one, but two ‘new normals’.
Adapting to a New Normal was written by e-MFP’s Sam Mendelson with support from Camille Dassy, Gemma Cavaliere, Gabriela Erice and Daniel Rozas. It opens with an explanation of the threats of climate change, what this ‘accretion of threats’ shares with the current Covid-19 crisis across the sector and the world at large, what financial services providers can do to protect vulnerable populations (and themselves) from the impacts of climate change, and then presents the climate change resilience initiatives of the ten semi-finalists across three broad categories: Increasing Resilience to Unpredictable/High-Impact External Shocks; Helping Clients Adapt to a Changing Climate; and Strengthening Institutional Resilience.
Adapting to a New Normal distils the innovations among the varied initiatives into six factors for success, including partnerships, client-centricity and demand-side product development, strategic embeddedness, a mix of short and long-term planning, proactivity, and ‘greenfielding’ new products and services rather than merely retrofitting existing offerings.
Thanks go from everyone at e-MFP to all the applicants, the members of the Preselection and Selection Committees and the High Jury who evaluated the applicants, and the consultants and e-MFP team who oversaw the Award process and this publication. We hope that our members and friends across the sector get value from seeing how the outstanding MFIs profiled within this paper have faced their climate change challenges to protect vulnerable populations from what remains, despite current attention and concern, still the greatest long-term threat to us all.