Today, high ranking officials of all ten ASEAN member states convened in Singapore for the 4th ASEAN Finance Ministers' and Central Bank Governors' Meeting.
The world of today builds on myriads of achievements of former generations. At the same time, stability and growth remain vulnerable. ASEAN is not the only region home to issues like climate change, migration, increased competition, or digitization, just to name a few. But as one of the key economic power houses globally, those themes inevitably mark the conversations at the ASEAN Finance meetings.
Under the chairmanship of Singapore, this year's theme in the various ASEAN committees focuses on "Resilience" and "Innovation". During the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Retreat in Singapore on 6 February 2018, the delegates reaffirmed this theme, including the need to strengthen ASEAN's financial and macroeconomic resilience1. "Boosting resilience against unexpected events" is also one of the key themes of the ASEAN Finance meeting today.
Why is resilience highlighted? Let me try to answer this question from my understanding:
ASEAN has been registering a fascinating number of annual growth in GDP but ASEAN is also a region highly prone to natural disasters. Effects of climate change have increased the frequency and severity of natural disasters in the past years, causing a growing number of casualties and impeding developmental progress. Combining
these factors, ASEAN's protection gap has widened and caught the attention of both local policy-makers and the international community.
This ever-present risk imposed by nature cannot be avoided nor should it be silently accepted. Instead, ASEAN decision-makers have decided to address the issue by inviting for a dialogue: "How can ASEAN strengthen its resilience against disaster risks through innovative risk financing solutions."
Mitigation and innovative financing instruments, such as macro risk transfer solutions for governments, can unlock faster and more reliable sources of liquidity in the aftermath of disasters. This can be used for immediate assistance to the most vulnerable communities such as farmers or a faster reestablishment of critical public services and infrastructure (schools, roads & bridges, hospitals, etc.). Faster emergency response will reduce the adverse impact on the population and the economy.
Swiss Re's Global Partnerships team has accumulated a significant experience in advising and insuring the public sector globally. We feel privileged to be invited and to
contribute to this dialogue with the decision-makers of ASEAN member states and will continue to join hands to make ASEAN more resilient.
Category: Climate/natural disasters: Climate change