Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to this new edition of the ICAR Forum.
The World Bank has been associated with the organization of this Forum on Management of Catastrophic Risk since its beginning, in 2004, as part of our support for development of a Catastrophic Risk Management Program in Romania. The program included guidance and technical assistance for preparation of the legal framework for catastrophic insurance of households and I am glad to note that the Law on Catastrophic Insurance of Households against Earthquakes, Floods and Landslides was, eventually, approved by the Parliament last week.
The topic selected for this year ICAR Forum is relevant for two reasons. First, the climatic events of the last few years, the impact of climate change, are generating increasing demands from the rural and farming community to deal with climatic risks. Second, the CAP health check recently conducted by the EC and subject to agreement of all member states, opens the possibility to member states to extend government support to agricultural insurance schemes, starting in 2010. It is important, therefore, for Romania to decide whether it wants to avail of this possibility, and if so, how.
I gladly noted a large presence here of the farmers’ community, proving their great interest to learn about the possible ways to mitigate the risk they have to deal with on a daily basis. The Forum will enable a large and open exchange of information, opinions and views among the participants covering a wide spectrum of expertise, professional affiliation, experience, and, not in the least, interests, and fruitful lessons will be drawn from these discussions for the further work on identifying the risk management tools most suitable and affordable for Romania.
I look forward to a successful event.