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18 May 2017

United Nations-backed insurance industry initiative and network of local governments to create “Insurance Development Goals for Cities”

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UN Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative and ICLEI to set the global agenda on how insurers and cities could work together to shape a resilient and sustainable urban future.

Bonn, 18 May 2017—The first-ever summit on insurance industry-city collaboration towards a resilient and sustainable urban future concluded with a set of ambitious goals.

Dr Michael Menhart, Head of Economics, Sustainability and Public Affairs at Munich Re, a PSI Board member said, “We are committed to implementing the UN Principles for Sustainable Insurance in our core business activities. By supporting the push for more resilient and sustainable cities, we can help turn the PSI into practice and make a contribution through our risk and resilience expertise. This is a great example of how the insurance industry can promote economic, social and environmental sustainability.”

The “Insuring Resilient and Sustainable Cities Summit” held on 5 May in Bonn, Germany was convened by UN Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) Initiative and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. The PSI, the largest collaborative initiative between the UN and the insurance industry, and ICLEI, the leading global network of more than 1,500 cities, towns and regions, joined forces in December 2016 to create the largest collaboration between the insurance industry and cities.

Jed Patrick Mabilog, Mayor of Iloilo City in the Philippines said, “To survive and thrive, we need a whole-of-society approach to climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction. I fully support the Bonn Ambition and look forward to its implementation.”

The main outcome of the PSI-ICLEI Summit was the “Bonn Ambition”, which aims to achieve three goals by June 2018, when ICLEI hosts its World Congress in Montréal, Canada. The Bonn Ambition is strategically linked to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  1. Create “Insurance Development Goals for Cities”, which would harness the insurance industry’s triple role as risk managers, risk carriers and investors in the context of the SDGs, focusing on SDG 11—“Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. The idea is for the PSI and ICLEI to convert SDG 11’s stated targets (see “Notes to editors” below) into Insurance Development Goals that would set the long-term global agenda for the insurance industry and cities.
  2. Develop city-level sustainable insurance roadmaps to drive strategic approaches and collaborative action by insurers and local governments. This could be linked to the Insurance Development Goals for Cities, and would complement ongoing efforts to develop national sustainable insurance and finance roadmaps.
  3. Organize the first-ever roundtable of insurance industry CEOs and city mayors at the 2018 ICLEI World Congress to accelerate global and local action. The Congress is held every three years and assembles hundreds of local governments and key stakeholders to set the course for globalizing urban sustainability.

Gino Van Begin, ICLEI’s Secretary General said, “Cities are on the front line of sustainable development challenges such as climate change and natural disasters. That’s why cities are working more and more with the insurance industry to better manage risk. We are delighted that the Insuring Resilient and Sustainable Cities Summit was a success and look forward to further shaping the global agenda for cities and the insurance industry through the Bonn Ambition.”

Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven, Director-General for Global Issues at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) said, “Working with the insurance industry and cities is crucial to achieving InsuResilience’s goal of providing access to insurance to an additional 400 million poor and vulnerable people by 2020. The Bonn Ambition is an important signal for enhancing climate resilience of cities.”

Butch Bacani, who leads the PSI at UN Environment, and who conceptualized and chaired the PSI-ICLEI Summit said, “The Bonn Ambition clearly supports the PSI’s vision of a risk-aware world, where the insurance industry is trusted and plays its full role in enabling a healthy, safe, resilient and sustainable society. We need ambitious and decisive action now—not in 2020 or 2030—to make the transformation to resilient and sustainable cities a reality. Time is non-renewable.”

The PSI-ICLEI Summit showed how the insurance industry could support cities as risk managers, risk carriers and investors. It explored various ways to close three key gaps in cities:

  • Closing the disaster risk reduction gap – through catastrophe risk modelling, ecosystem-based adaptation, insurance loss data sharing, land-use planning, loss prevention, and disaster preparedness
  • Closing the insurance protection gap – through insurance solutions for low-income people, SMEs, local governments and green technologies, including index-based insurance and usage-based insurance
  • Closing the financing gap – through investments in sustainable infrastructure, energy, buildings and transportation, and instruments such as green bonds and catastrophe and resilience bonds

The Summit was sponsored by Munich Re, a founding PSI signatory, and supported by other PSI signatories such as Allianz, Risk Management Solutions and GIZ, as well as by city mayors and officials from ICLEI’s global network—from Iloilo and Honiara, to Copenhagen and Oslo.

Andrew Leonard Mua, Mayor of Honiara City in the Solomon Islands, one of the most climate and disaster-vulnerable countries said, “No man is an island. Honiara needs to work with other cities and key stakeholders such as the insurance industry in shaping a resilient and sustainable urban future. We need to act urgently—the future is happening now.

The Summit was held as part of ICLEI’s 2017 Resilient Cities Congress, which convened more than 400 urban leaders and experts from government, business, academia and civil society to address key resilience and sustainability challenges and opportunities in urban environments worldwide. It was supported by the G7 Climate Risk Insurance Initiative (InsuResilience), which was launched in 2015 by the G7 under Germany’s Presidency.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and Co-Patron of the 2017 Resilient Cities Congress said, “This landmark initiative by the insurance industry and cities is an excellent example of the type of ambition and leadership needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. We look forward to strengthening our collaboration with UN Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative and ICLEI to accelerate the transformation to a low-emission, climate-resilient and sustainable world.”

The Bonn Ambition was championed by Ashok-Alexander Sridharan, Mayor of Bonn and Co-Patron of the 2017 Resilient Cities Congress, in his concluding remarks at the Congress. The 2017 UN Climate Change Conference (COP23), which will be held under Fiji’s Presidency, will take place in Bonn this November.

For more information, please contact:
Claudio Magliulo, Media Liaison, ICLEI World Secretariat, Bonn, Germany
T: +49 (0) 228 976299 15 /

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