Ban urges insurance industry leaders to play strong role in shaping more sustainable future

17 June 2015

As a major source of long-term investment, the insurance industry can and must play a strong role in shaping a more sustainable future, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, urging the industry to show strong leadership and voice support for a host of upcoming United Nations-led initiatives aimed at ensuring a more sustainable world for all.

“This is a critical year for action,” Mr. Ban said in remarks to the International Insurance Society Global Insurance Forum in New York, spotlighting major UN events – the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, in July; a special summit in New York In September where Member States will meet on sustainable development; and a meeting of parties to the UN climate change convention this December in Paris.

“With these events, the world has an historic opportunity to adopt a new set of sustainable development goals and to put the world on track for long-term, low-carbon, climate-resilient growth,” he said, explaining that, with climate change impacts accelerating and weather-related disasters becoming more frequent and intense, people and organizations all over the world are demanding leadership and action.

Both public and private sector support is needed, underscored the UN chief, adding that the insurance industry can play an important role, especially in helping to ease the financial burden associated with disasters and to protect the vulnerable.

“The insurance sector is well-placed to be a leader in risk sensitive investments,” he said, noting that disaster risk reduction is a front-line defence against the impact of climate change and it is a smart, cost-effective and life-saving investment. Moreover, it is time for global action on resilience and risk reduction that not only anticipates and absorbs climate risks, but also reshapes them into an opportunity for safer, sustainable development.

“The insurance industry rose to the challenge in last year’s Climate Summit by announcing a commitment to double its climate-smart investment by the end of 2015. We must ensure that commitments made at the Summit are now implemented,” the Secretary-General declared, urging the industry to think more strategically about how climate risks can be reduced, and to adjust their investments accordingly, as well as to work with governments, especially in developing countries, to help bring about these changes.

“You have seen the tragic human toll rise from extreme weather events. You know the staggering economic price tag. I call on you to show even stronger leadership. Voice your support for an ambitious agreement in Paris, said urging the participants to heed the example of industry leaders, including Axa, which recently pledged to decarbonize its assets. “Increase investments in resilient, low-carbon infrastructure. And create the innovative financial tools that will make markets work for a safer climate.”

 

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