PORT-LOUIS, April 28, 2014 - The Southwest Indian Ocean Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (SWIO RAFI) will be launched during the fifth Regional Platform for Risk Transfer Mechanisms (April 28-30), hosted by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).
The SWIO RAFI seeks to address high vulnerability of the Southwest Indian Ocean Island States to disaster losses from catastrophes such as cyclones, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis. These threats are exacerbated by the effects of climate change, a growing population and increased economic impacts.
The initiative will provide a solid basis for the future implementation of disaster risk financing by improving the understanding of disaster risks and risk financing solutions of participating island nations.
“Implementing the SWIO RAFI will not only improve the understanding within these Island States, but will also help to predict future risks. As an ongoing initiative, the goal is to consistently reduce the exposure to such hazards using a combination of research and a myriad of assessment tools” explained Doekle Wielinga, Sr. Disaster Risk Management Specialist at the World Bank.
This project is the first phase whereby fundamental data will be collected, collated and shared on the exposure and existing hazard information for The Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zanzibar.
Based on the extensive research that will be conducted, regional and national catastrophe risk financing options will be assessed, a regional open data platform will be established and preliminary national disaster risk financing strategies developed. Institutional capacity building will form an essential component of all of these efforts. During an envisaged second phase, the preliminary catastrophe risk financing strategies selected by the Island States will be further developed and made operational.
According to Rafael Munoz Moreno, the World Bank Country Representative in Mauritius, "A project of this nature can be very strategic for the South West Indian Ocean Island States by exploring ways to protect against catastrophic events that have a high impact on their development, by identifying comprehensive national risk financing instruments and exploring regional instruments similar to those that have been established in the Caribbean and in the Pacific" ".
SWIO RAFI complements the ongoing work of the IOC to reduce vulnerability to natural disasters in accordance with the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Program of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) 2005-2015. The initiative will be implemented with financial support from the European Union in the framework of the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program, managed by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR).