Strengthening Resilience to Climate Change
The €100,000 European Microfinance Award 2019 "Strengthening Resilience to Climate Change" focused on the important role of the financial inclusion sector in increasing the resilience of communities vulnerable to the effects of climate change. While the changing climate impacts all countries, sectors, and people, they are not all affected in the same ways. Climate change is particularly threatening to poor and marginalised communities. The Award seeks to highlight good practice and innovative interventions offering products and services capable of responding to clients' vulnerability to climate change effectively and in a sustainable manner and thus driving economic, environmental and social benefits.
The Award attracted applications from 41 organisations in 27 countries and APA Insurance Ltd. (Keny), ASKI (Philippines) and FDL (Nicaragua) were selected in September as the three finalists. On 21st November in a ceremony held at the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg, Paulette Lenert, Luxembourg Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, presented the 10th European Microfinance Award to APA Insurance Ltd of Kenya.
- APA is an insurance company in Kenya that provides Index-based insurance to mostly smallholder and subsistence farmers. The agriculture sector is the main source of livelihoods for the majority of Kenyan people. However, climate change is profoundly affecting them due to their low resilience and dependence on rain-fed agriculture – especially through the increased frequencies of flooding and droughts, and changing rainfall patterns. APA has responded to this with two products – an Index Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) and an Area Yield Index Insurance (AYII). IBLI insures pastoralists against forage (food for grazing livestock) deterioration due to drought, resulting in livestock deaths. AYII protects farmers against the damage to the insured growing crops due to excessive rainfall, flood, frost, hail damage, excessive heat wave, windstorm, uncontrollable pest and diseases, and drought, and pays out claims to farmers when the average yield in their area falls below a set level, regardless of the actual yield on each client’s farm.
- ASKI is an MFI in the Philippines that builds clients’ resilience to climate change by focusing on disaster preparedness at the institutional and community level. Besides frequent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis, the Philippines is also significantly affected by climate change, including increasing frequency and severity of typhoons, rising temperatures, rising sea levels, flooding and landslides. As a consequence, many of ASKI’s clients have experienced severe damages or total loss of their produce or assets, leading to bankruptcy and default. ASKI has increased disaster preparedness in several ways, including the setup of a Disaster Risk Reduction team; publication of a guidebook on Disaster Risk Reduction and Business Continuity Planning for MFIs; the establishment of a resiliency fund with dedicated client savings intended for disaster relief and recovery; creation of rehabilitation loans and bridge loans for heavily affected clients, with a grace period; and enrolment of clients in micro-insurance products to mitigate risk.
- Financiera Fondo de Desarrollo Local (FDL) is an MFI in Nicaragua that has responded to the consequences of climate change by providing local interventions to increase not only clients’ resiliency, but also the resilience of the ecosystem. Climate change impacts the agricultural sector in particular due to irregular cycles of droughts and floods, increasingly extreme temperatures, and initial desertification – reducing yields and lowering farmers’ capacity to pay. FDL’s “Green Microfinance-Plus Program” reduces transaction costs, combines technical assistance with payments for ecological services and adapted loans for water-harvesting and irrigation systems, and incorporates silvopastoral agroforestry models for the intensification of cattle production based on integrated and sustainable natural processes, including pasture improvement, seed management and diversification, and soil conservation. To achieve this, FDL offers three products: loans for green microfinance in the coffee/cacao highlands; loans for the ‘Dry Corridor’ to foster mitigation and adaptation practices; and loans for agroforestry-related income diversification activities.
Congratulations also to the semifinalists: Action for Social Advancement (ASA), India; Agronomika Finance Corporation, Philippines; Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito Fondesurco, Peru; Cooperativa de Ahorro y Credito Norandino, Peru (SP); Muktinath Bikas Bank Ltd., Nepal; Tinh Thuong Microfinance Institution (TYM), Vietnam; VisionFund Myanmar.
Read NextBillion's blog: The Winds of Change: Mobilizing Microfinance for Climate Change Resilience