New Report – ‘Financing Green Growth in a Resource-constrained World’

This report highlights promising examples of successful collaborations already under way, such as India’s National Solar Mission; Kenya’s efforts to design an investment-grade renewable energy strategy; the South Africa Water Partners Network; and the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania. These examples offer innovative financing mechanisms and new models for collaborative innovation and engagement of multistakeholder communities. Each partnership offers lessons that will help others to replicate, tailor and scale up similar approaches. In so doing, the world can begin to shape a new “bottom up” approach to green growth to address climate change and deliver sustainable jobs and economic growth.

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‘Insurability in Microinsurance Markets: An Analysis of Problems and Potential Solutions’

Abstract: This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the insurability of risks in microinsurance markets. Our aim is to enhance the understanding of impediments to and facilitators of microinsurance from an economic perspective and outline potential solutions. The motivation for conducting this analysis arises from two important aspects. (1) Despite strong growth of microinsurance markets in recent years, more than 90 per cent of the poor population in developing countries have limited or no access to insurance. (2) Industry practitioners frequently highlight problems in the insurability of risks that hinder the development of microinsurance. We review 131 papers and find that the most severe problems stem from insufficient resources for risk evaluation, small size of insurance groups, information asymmetries and the size of the insurance premium. On the basis of the analysis, we discuss a number of potential solutions such as, for example, a cooperative microinsurance architecture.

Full Citation: Biener, C. and Eling, M. (2012). Insurability in Microinsurance Markets: An Analysis of Problem and Potential Solutions. The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance: Issues and Practice, 37 (1): 77-107. 

New Report – ‘Revealing Risk,Redefining Development’

Summary: The second edition of the United Nations Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction is a resource for understanding and analysing global disaster risk today and in the future.

Drawing on new and enhanced data, the 2011 report explores trends in disaster risk for each region and for countries with different socioeconomic development. At the same time, over 130 governments are engaged in self-assessments of their progress towards the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), contributing to what is now the most complete global overview of national efforts to reduce disaster risk.

The 2011 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR11) highlights the political and economic imperative to reduce disaster risks, and the benefits to be gained from doing so. Importantly, it offers guidance and suggestions to governments and nongovernmental actors alike on how they can, together, reduce disaster risks.

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‘Mixed Messages on Prices and Food Security’

Abstract: Spikes in food prices have pushed food security to the top of the global policy agenda. Price increases have mixed effects on poverty and hunger: They increase the cost of food for consumers but increase incomes of farmers, who represent the bulk of the world’s poor. Net effects will differ depending on whether poor households or countries buy or import, or sell or export food (infrastructure, institutions, and market imperfections will play roles, as well) (1–4). Policies to influence prices imply winners and losers, not just between rich and poor, but also among the poor. These nuances are too often absent in public debate, to the detriment of policy-making. Moreover, the arguments put forward today, that high food prices generally hurt the poor, are in contrast with those put forward a few years ago, that low food prices were hurting the poor.

Full Citation: Swinnen, J. and Squicciarini, P. (2012). Mixed messages on prices and food security. Science, 335 (6067): 405-406 (Available with subscription at: 

Food Price Watch Report 2012: Global Food Prices

Summary: Global food prices declined 8% between September and December 2011. Wheat, maize, and rice prices declined due to improved supply conditions, and among concerns regarding the global economy. However, global prices still remain high, with the 2011 annual food price index exceeding the 2010 annual index by 24 percent.

Prospects for decline in 2012 prices are favorable on account of increasing supplies. Yet, global prices remain high and volatile, markets tight, and oil prices uncertain. There has been strong demand from deficit areas and production losses from La Niña have already occurred. Domestic food prices also remain high and volatile, and continue to show large differences from country to country.

Declining global prices should not diminish vigilant monitoring of food price movements. Because domestic food prices have remained high, households have adopted coping strategies. These strategies follow common patterns but are not universal. Coping strategies may partially offset some of the effects of crises, yet the nutritional consequences of food crises can quickly become devastating, especially in low-income countries with weak safety nets.

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