E Co Sound bites: Conversations with AEs Episode 3 Transcript – International Fund for Agricultural Development

6 July 2021, Category: All insights, E Co. Sound bites

This is the transcript for Episode 2 of Conversations with Accredited Entities: The Africa Integrated Climate Risk Management Program, Building the resilience of smallholder farmers to climate change impacts in seven Sahelian countries of The Great Green Wall with International Fund for Agricultural Development. You can listen to the full episode here.

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About this episode

Project: The Africa Integrated Climate Risk Management Program, Building the resilience of smallholder farmers to climate change impacts in seven Sahelian countries of The Great Green Wall

Organisations: International Fund for Agricultural Development

Podcast Speakers: Dr Grant Ballard-Tremeer – E Co., Dr Jyotsna Puri – IFAD, Mel Phadtare – E Co.

Transcript

Grant: Your project was approved at Board Meeting 28 seems like a little while ago now as we head into Board Meeting 29 already. Congratulations for that. And fantastic with that. Your project has a long title, “the Africa Integrated Climate Risk Management Program, Building The Resilience Of Smallholder Farmers To Climate Change Impacts In Seven Sahelian Countries Of The Great Green Wall”. Could you tell us a little bit about that project?

Jo: Yeah, thanks, Grant. So first, I think possibly a little bit about the context. So in the Sahel region, agriculture is really an important sector. It employs more than 65% of the overall workforce. Most of the countries that occupied the Sahel and it feeds both the subsistence sector, and it is comprised by rain fed agriculture. And really contributes approximately 40% to the regional GDP. Now, Sahel, as many of you may know, is also one of the hottest regions in the world. And it has had a lot of variation recently in its overall weather patterns, much of it attributed to climate change, temperature increases have been projected to be a 1 and a, 1.5 times higher than the rest of the world, according to the IPCC. And really here, subsistence and rural farmers are really at the frontlines of climate change. And climate variability and climate uncertainty and lack the capacity, the resources and the support to either adapt or cope or recover from a lot of the climate induced changes, variability and uncertainty. Alongside all of this, there’s a huge amount of competition for natural resources. And this is leading to high levels of resource extraction, farming practices have also been, have been witnessed to be extremely degrading. And this is now one of the most degraded regions in the world. 

On the other side, and so this is just in terms of the impacts of climate variability and uncertainty on the region. But it is also true that more than half of the population in the Sahel and countries rely on fossil fuels for power generation. And this is despite the fact that actually, you know, there is a high level of irradiance in the region, so you can harness solar energy, but that’s not what is occurring currently. So that’s one and second, also that it’s ecosystem. So whether it’s rangelands, or forests are farmland, they’re extremely fragile and extremely vulnerable to not just climate induced variability, but also anthropogenic variability. And this then has impacts on water supply, on food, and on livestock and everything else that affects our lives. So this is really the context within which we are working one more thing. Climate change degraded landscape. And the overall pressure on natural resources essentially means as well, that there is a high likelihood of political conflict. And, a lot of forced migration. In a recent group of studies, actually, a very nice group of studies, it showed that especially in Sub Saharan Africa, a one standard deviation in change in rainfall, or in temperature, would lead to an 11% increase in inter group conflict. I mean, that’s pretty big. 

So that in itself, I think gives you a little bit of perspective that if we are witnessing this kind of change in temperature and weather patterns, all of which are induced by climate change, then we are essentially beset by a whole range of pressures on not just the landscape, but also on humans around that. So it’s in this context that the Africa Integrated Climate Risk Management Program was built for seven Sahelian countries, right. It is the first in the largest EFI, GCF regional program, it’s grant only and really couldn’t have come at a better time. Yeah, it’s also at the same time that there have  been increasing challenges raised by the pandemic, and add 143 million, of which 82.8 million is GCF grants. It’s really bringing in five times more than the resources from EFI itself. So it’s really this context that we are working with, and, the key areas that it’s working in, really something that I alluded to already preparing for climate risk, reducing climate risk and transferring climate risk, and I can talk about that as we go. Thanks.

Grant: Fantastic, yeah. very compelling background to the project and really, something that’s pretty much needed. Just to say on short type of activity, could you tell us a bit about the role of IFAD then in this project, what are you doing in the region? And what was your role in putting together the project? How did it come about?

Jo: Yeah. So, like I said, it has three components, preparing for climate risk, reducing climate risk and transferring it. And the design process itself has included various teams and has been extremely, it has been a huge coordination process. So it’s been developed in coordination with the African Development Bank, where the World Food Program and the Africa Risk Capacity. Many field missions were organised in almost all the countries with policymakers sector ministries that included agriculture, livestock, environment, economy, finance, insurance companies, as well as local stakeholders and many private actors as well. IFAD’s main role has been coordination, technical design and coordination both at the international level but also as the at the country level. And, in terms of the technical design, we’ve contributed, we basically lead on the risk reduction component, African Development Bank has led the macro insurance component, and Africa risk capacity. NWfP focused on the micro insurance component, but it basically went in, yeah, with all of us acting together, right. So I think just a couple of remarks then on the overall process and coordination and engagement both at the local level as well as at the national level. 

As you can imagine, making sure that a project like this is also successful requires the deadly huge amount of engagement that needs to be done at the local level. The direct beneficiaries of these arts of this project though investment have been smallholder farmers and that include youth and women. And so a large part of the engagement was done in focus groups as well as through direct interactions that there was then discussion so it’s really a grounds up, the design was really grounds up right. So key issues that were raised were really in terms of the specific day to day impacts and vulnerabilities associated with what we all know to become a change, but of course, how they translate on the ground is very different, you know, the language used for climate change on the ground is very different, but what it has meant is that it they have essentially evolved or have been aggregated into them informing these three components of reduction, reduction, transfer, transference and preparation of climate risk. 

And essentially, this is a large, the adaptation component, which has anticipated or is anticipated to increase the resilience is the mainstay of the overall investment. Right. So this is really looking at not just insurance, it’s also looking at developing other resources. So, when we are looking at say, preparing for climate risk, the project puts in Information Services and early warning systems, when we are thinking about risk reduction, there are concrete adaptation activities, and when we are talking about risk transfer, this is essentially micro and macro insurance component. So, really on as, we engaged with farmers, and really, it’s the team and so I’m basically speaking for the entire multi country, multi agency team here. And let’s be very clear about that. Right. So the congratulations should really go to all of them. And I’m just a spokesperson but it’s really important that this to to recognize that a large part of this was informed through a very participatory process on the ground. And this participatory process helped us to think around improving agricultural production through this integrated climate resilient agricultural practices, all of which I alluded to, but also included in terms of adaptive practices, creating and sustaining climate smart landscapes with increased agricultural water supply, watershed restoration practices, and also building suitable technologies and infrastructures and I’m using the word suitable, essentially to imply that it’s different strokes for different folks, right? Because it’s seven countries. So it’s really a very vast range of technologies that need to be employed on the ground to then deal with the realities and the needs of different populations and sub populations. 

And then, really, I think, some few lessons also emerge for us as part of the overall stakeholder consultations that but then also used to inform the project design. And the gaps that it’s helping to mitigate are basically show that investments on rural finance are required. And this is basically what we are doing also with agricultural insurance products that have traditionally been absent in this space. Thanks.

Grant: Yeah, that’s fantastic. It’s a massive undertaking to put together a project like this, especially if you’ve gone down to the smallholder farmer level in seven countries. Could you just give a little bit of insight for listeners into how detailed? How was that to handle in terms of getting insight from farmers and the beneficiaries?

Jo: Yeah, sure. So it’s just first to first indicate that it’s not just farmers, right. It’s also a lot of companies that we are working with. Second also highlight that IFAD actually works traditionally in exactly the space and and has been engaging not just through this program, but also through its previous program and concurrent program. So if it has an adaptation for smallholder agriculture program, really the largest smallholder agriculture program, adaptation and agriculture program in the world, also called ASAP. We also learn from a lot of experience from Africa, the African Development bank’s Africa disaster risk financing program. And, of course, WFPS rural Brazil resilience initiative. Okay, so let me talk a little bit about the overall process of engagement. 

So there is a stakeholder engagement plan for the program that was prepared, and that was also updated. That essentially establishes a functioning platform for interaction and meaningful consultations with affected parties and people who have interest in but will also be affected by the design implementation and outcomes of the program. Right? And as part of this overall stakeholder engagement plan, the investment then engaged with rural local communities, both the anticipated direct and indirect beneficiaries and in each one of the countries, these included, and there’s a specific focus on youth and women to soliciting their feedback, both on design as well as on implementation. But also, and I think this is a part that gets left out quite a bit on simultaneously managing expectations about program outcomes, right. So to also at the same time, because as we go to the GCF, but as we also go to other investment sources, we are also quite, how should I say rightfully cautious about how much we can promise. And so part of this engagement is also ensuring that we aren’t overselling, you know, what will be done? Right? So, here, I think the key thing also to recognise is that the other part where we were talking with women, and I also wanted to talk very briefly about that. 

So in terms of women and women’s empowerment is a very important focus for IFAD. And in this area, especially given both women’s current workloads and burdens, as well as their traditional access to resources and control of productive assets, including, say technologies and land means that they don’t really traditionally have the kind of voice, the kind of income and the kind of time. So the equal work part of IFAD’s own thinking about women’s empowerment becomes really important. And so we focused on all three of those things during our engagement right. So ensure and thinking about their voices. And thinking about and also eliciting a large part of this interaction is also by elicitation. Eliciting their own thoughts, as well as thoughts from, you know, people who are not women, about voice or about empowerment through income, and about time and time burdens. So that this could be incorporated into, into the overall design of the program. 

So, for example, in the insurance program, there is a specific mention of including women and youth and targeting them very specifically in terms of giving them incentives to not just have access and have it available insurance and banking ability, but really, for to create the incentives for them to be able to use it. And that, you know, that gap between intention and use is, I think, a recognized one, but not an often operationalized gap, right? So people recognize that, yes, there are good intentions. But programs have to translate that on the ground. And we call that the last mile gap. And so that’s something that needs to be overcome,  as we design but also implement this program. So recognizing that the first step of overcoming that intention action gap, is really ensuring that there is engagement right at the beginning. 

And the last point I wanted to make on this point about engagement was really the willingness of private and public insurance companies as well as governments to participate and assume responsibility,  that is really going to be the mainstay of the success of the program. So I mean, it’s been approved. But I think our key focus is now on implementation and ensuring results. And that will be predicated to a large extent on our private sector and public sector partners as well as of course, smallholder farmers themselves but also governments, so that there is adaptive management, so that there is a mitigation of technical risks, which are, you know, which are definitely going to appear and there are going to be some unknown unknowns as well. So it’s really important that that part of our partner group is also aware and is able to robustly manage this as we go along. Thanks. 

Grant: Thank you very much. It’s really fascinating. There’s so many points that you raised. And I don’t exactly know where to start and what you’re talking about in terms of this last mile gap. It’s just so important, isn’t it in terms of getting something really delivered? It’s not just words about that we want women involved, that we want to give a voice and have this type of involvement. But it actually has to happen through a project. 

Jo: Yeah. 

Grant: You mentioned one element is that engagement at the beginning, you start off with engagement, you don’t bring engagement in only once you’ve got the project approved. Are there any other elements that you put into the project designed to sort of ensure or to lay the foundations for that type of delivery?

Jo: Yeah. So let me talk about two things. Right. So first is, and apologies for this blog, but we just my co authors, and I just brought out a paper on exactly last mile issues and incorporating thinking around behavioral science and looking at GCF project. So that just came out last week, and I’m happy to share the link with you. And, then in an earlier more preliminary study, my other coauthor and I, Cornelius Krueger and I, we also looked at this question, and we took the entire portfolio of the GCF at that point. And we tried to examine the extent to which this intention action gap was being incorporated, but we use the lens of behavioral science because we wanted to understand, well, he a lot of international agencies, and this is not just you know, the case for GCF. I think this is true across the international organisation space. 

A lot of us have, and I include myself in that group, have this hubris or arrogance that all that is required is really international agencies or agencies to sort of go in and do the supply part and demand will create itself right. And we started exactly from that very humbled space to understand And as to the extent to which the entire portfolio GCF, and I think we looked at 100 projects, so that was the size of the GCF portfolio, we looked at all of them to understand whether some of these concerns, but again, just to be very specific, we were using a specific behavioral science lens to understand whether there was a space for using things like nudges and tools to increase the adoption of a lot of the a lot of the investment based interventions on the ground. And we found that the gaps were significant, right, to the extent that there was probably a large overstatement of what we could as GCF and I was, at that point at the GCF, what we could claim as overall impacts because as we know, impacts are really predicated on the extent to which a lot of these interventions are taken up.

So just to give you another example, we looked at agricultural insurance. And I looked at it in a previous life, where smallholder farmers are provided agricultural insurance, which is actually really fair, right. So it is fair for farmers, given the expected probability of an hour of a climate event occurring for them to adopt or use that agricultural insurance and pay the premium. So that’s the actual really fair instrument was provided to them. And the assumption was that, that most smallholder farmers in most insurance programs, this is the assumption that most smallholder farmers will take it up. And, in fact, a lot of people like you and I, maybe not you, but definitely I think about, well, why do smallholder farmers not adopt instruments such as these, even when they’re actually fed. And this is much less to do with capital markets and perfect markets and access to banks and all of that. Most adoption for agricultural insurance is 18 to 20%, of the overall targeted population. So this is the targeted population, not the entire population, right. And so these are really low uptake or adoption rates. And this has been found over and over again through. So just to be clear, this was an entire this was a review of the evidence, where we had a protocol that we prepared beforehand. So then using that lens, the one of the key things that I really liked about this investment is the use of this incentive for farmers to use insurance, and it’s called a digressive insurance plan. 

So this is insurance is, but is provided to farmers. But the idea is that in the first year, the 80% of the premium will be paid by the investment and not by the farmer, the farmer will only pay 20%, the next year, the project will pay 60%, and the farmer only pays 40% of the overall premium. The third year, the ratio reverses and it becomes 20:80. And then it’s only in the fourth year that it becomes the full insurance premium is paid by the farmer. And so this is essentially another way to ensure that, you know, smallholder farmers can actually primed into this agricultural insurance scheme, especially in an area where they are not traditionally exposed to agricultural insurance, where claims of basis risk are likely to be high, which is that, you know, their private losses are far greater than what is picked up. And so just to be sure, this is where the based insurance, where claims or basis rates are much more likely to be right rather than not. So really then introducing this digressive insurance mechanism is another way of closing that intention action gap. And, yeah, I can continue, but I’m hoping that’s sufficient for now.

Grant: Yeah, that’s really great and fascinating. Yeah, very appreciative. If you could give the link to the papers that you mentioned. My behavioral science lens, really, so often gives a fresh perspective, doesn’t it on why some people adopt something and others don’t. That sort of behavioral perspective is something that I think we can all learn so much from there. And, Jo, you mentioned one of the things that you learned, and I think it’s almost exactly the same continuation of what we’ve been talking about the need for investments in rural finance, that was one of the things that came out of that development. Could you just tell us a few more words about that? 

Jo: Well, about development finance?

Grant: You said that they really one of the lessons, if I understood correctly was around that need for investments in rural finance.

Jo: Yeah. So, I mean, I think that one of the key things that a lot of investors and with malice towards no one really ignore is both the potential as well as the need for rural finance in areas such as the Sehel and on one side, I understand the hesitation and the disinclination to enter a region such as these mainly because you know, it could be it could be say, religious, in fact, one of the questions we got to ask which is quite interesting is well, a large part of this area is Islamic, are you sure that they will take on instruments that are for example, interest bearing right. So, but traditionally, insurance companies have or rural finance companies have not entered implement areas such as these, because of the uncertainty because of the absence of larger ticket, bankable ideas and the problems of aggregation, right? How do you go into a transhumans or pastoralist community and then say, well, let me reduce my transaction costs. And let me build up a KPI system where I understand my consumer, I beg your pardon, or KYC, or know your customer system where I would, I’m confident that there will be sufficient payback. Right. So this has deterred a lot of rural finance investors from coming into this region. 

I think what the Sahel project really does is because it combines a lot of effects, own baseline investment, that as well as the GCF investment that is coming in, it manages to subsidize as well as incentivize in ways not just the Progressive Insurance system, but also in by ensuring long tenors, for example. And by ensuring below market interest rates, for example, it is able to not just what to say it actually is creating markets, right sustaining markets is in another step in that direction. But at this point, the reason that this investment is so fast breaking, I think is because it is really doing frontier work. It is creating new markets where we hope that others will, others will come in and frankly, sorry, I don’t know whether this is answering your question in a direct way. But I really think that at a meta level, this should be the role of international organizations such as IFAD and GCF, which is coming to completely Birgeneau spaces and take the risk. This is what we are doing, we are taking the risk. You’re putting out grants, which do not have to be paid back, but we’re transforming the landscape. And then we are hoping that you know, the private sector will come in comforted by what has been done in terms of creating a fertile space for them to work.

Grant: Thank you. Thank you very much. I can hear a lot of your experience related to evaluation and taking a very careful look at what is happening on the ground to understand what can be done better. In all you say it’s really grounded in that sort of background. And how did you get into this work in the first place? What brought you into topics?

Jo: Yeah. Well, you picked it up nicely. Yeah, my previous role was as the head of the independent Office of evaluation at the Green Climate Fund. I also come from a space of evidence based strategy and evidence based policies. I’ve worked previously at the International initiative for impact evaluation where I was the deputy executive director, but I’ve worked a lot in development. An old professor of mine used to say well, if you will born in a developing country, you’re basically born into development economics. But I spent the first 25 years of my life in India and then did my PhD in Resource and Agricultural Economics in the United States. 

But then I worked variously at the World Bank, but always at the intersection of evidence and policy. So I think they’ve been drawn towards both the fact that we are standing on the shoulders of giants, and we need to recognize that there’s a huge amount of learning that has been done in the space in terms of what works and what doesn’t, for whom and how much. And we need to, you know, we, it’s almost unethical if we don’t learn from previous mistakes. But we also need to push the frontier in terms of how we can take this forward, and there is nothing better the teachers as opposed to what works other than really doing it, rolling up your sleeves, and then doing it on the ground. But making sure that it also informs learning and not just for ourselves, because that will be selfish, to also inform the global community at large. So that’s sort of the background that I’m coming at it from.

Grant: Okay, thank you. Yeah, this is music to my ears. That’s a sort of background of understanding how things are done now, what works, what doesn’t work and trying to build on that, talked about standing on the shoulders of giants, taking things forward step by step. So yeah, something that strongly I admire in the type of work that you’re doing. If you were to recommend something to listeners, in terms  of project design in the climate finance area, what one or two recommendations would you make to people? 

Jo: In the climate finance area? 

Grant: Yeah, in climate finance, we’ve got listeners who are trying to develop GCF projects or for other types of Climate Fund funds. What should they, hat do you think they should really pay attention to in doing that type of work?

Jo: Yeah, so I think a few things, right. And I think first, and I alluded to this already, definitely participatory processes and engagement right from the beginning. Second, understanding fitting the solution to the problem and not the problem to the solution. I think the fact that we had really strong engagement on the ground has been really critical in ensuring that we are building a very sharp set of interventions on the ground that can hopefully, really target some of the key vulnerabilities, both climate induced, but also manmade, so anthropocentric vulnerabilities on the ground. So I think I would definitely and, again, you alluded to this, look at the evidence, and learn what we already know, in terms of what works, what doesn’t for whom, and why. Fourth, I think collaboration, you know, there’s so many agencies and so many people and so many types of actors that have been involved in this process, and I can’t overstate the amount of coordination that it is required. But if we really want to do this in a successful way, I think that time for collaboration should be seen as a key pillar of designing any such investment. I also think that we should use these investments for innovation. And we spoke about some of these innovations, both in terms of process while collaboration and engagement is not an innovation. But I have to say that the way it was done for this program was not just it wasn’t just cosmetic, right. That is important as part of priming as well. But then also, you know, both product innovation.

So thinking about the digressive insurance mechanism, I think this is really exciting. And one of the key things that I am hoping as well is a learning from this as to how much it’s working and how much it’s not and for whom and why and then you know, doing the next scale up and informing the next replicated investment because it would be almost tragic if we didn’t. And last but not least, I think a critical thing to recognize about climate is that, of course, it has no boundaries. Right? So the fact that this is a regional project really made us focus a lot on, on ensuring that these trans boundary concerns about climate, about risk about risk preparation, about risk adaptation and risk transfer are taken on board. And but it also is, on the other side, I think makes us far more sanguine, because we can benefit from the economies of scale. Yeah. So suddenly, we have seven countries thinking about this in a very similar way. 

I think that one thing that we will want to keep a watch out for as we go along is ensuring that the impact work, the data work, and the monitoring work is used not just for adaptive management internally, but that we are transparent, and we are able to share those lessons and an open way as we go along.

Grant: Wow, thank you very much. What a great list, I’ve got seven items here and each single one is gold, thank you very much. I can’t spoil it by adding any particular points to it, that’s really fantastic. If you don’t mind, I’d love to ask a few sort of quick fire, more personal questions. I’d love to hear about what you’re reading at the moment, or perhaps watching, I’ll allow watching if you prefer. 

Jo: Well, it’s interesting that you asked that right so I’m actually reading two, and I like reading more than one book at the same time, it gives me different synapses and so yeah it’s a little bit of a quirk, but so I’m reading. Mariana Mazzucato’s Mission Economy. I think it’s called the “Moonshot Guide”. So it’s got a subtitle but “Mission Economy”, and “Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism”, I think. So that’s one and then another really exciting book by a political scientist called Yuen Yuen Arg. And that book is called “How China Escaped The Poverty Trap”. Yeah.

Grant: We’ll put links to those in the transcript and so that people can access it. I’m certainly going to pick them out and have a look, I haven’t read either of those yet. I’m also a serial, well not serial it’s parallel reader. I can read three or four books at the same time. Who do you admire most?

Jo: Who do I admire most? I think my current reigning favourite is Mariana Mazzucato. I think I picked up the book because I’m a fan. She knows this. So not the other way around. I’d actually read a previous book called “The State as an Entrepreneur but I think the most exciting part of what she brings forward, is this innovation and public policy idea that public agencies need to take on risk and, they have traditionally done it, it’s just that they know, they don’t get recognised for it, and this has led to an unfortunate discounting, by the public, by public and international agencies themselves and their own role in taking on risk  and in supporting innovation. So, You know this is almost become a vicious thing so at the beginning, if you think of a lot of the innovations that have taken place immediately, even before the Second World War, but even after it. A lot of public agencies were responsible for it and if you look at say solar power right so this was really has been the CFW’s key thing in ensuring that the initial risk in really in building the market for solar power was taken on by the public agency. 

It’s now that we are seeing that the cost of solar power per unit has reduced so much that it’s become so competitive that it’s a no brainer for private sector, the private sector to enter. But that is the role is just that  because this has not been credited to international and publicly funded agencies, they themselves have started to ignore it, much more than they should be. And actually they should wear it and touted as the badge of honour, and I am really from that school of thought.

Grant: Really understand that. Thank you very much. It has been an absolute pleasure to speak with you today. 

Jo: Thank you so much Grant. It has been  really wonderful and fun

Grant: Keep up the good work. Hope to have a chance to speak with you again sometime soon.

Jo: Inshallah, I look forward to it. Thanks very much. Bye for now.

Grant: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us Jyotsna. We appreciate it and we look forward to keeping an eye on the project as it progresses as well as any future projects you bring in front of the GCF board. I’m now joined by my colleague Mel Phadtare, senior consultant. What part of Jyotsna’s interview really peaked your interest?

I’m joined by my colleague, Mel Phadtare, who is a senior consultant here at E co. Mel is a specialist in disaster risk reduction and water and sanitation projects in the context of climate adaptation. And she has significant experience in stakeholder engagement. Mel, welcome. What did you make of that discussion?

Mel: Thank you, Grant. I’m really pleased to be here. I thought that the discussion, the debrief that Joe provided us was absolutely fascinating. The highly ambitious regional project. There’s a variety of ecosystems that we’re looking to address. And of course, there’s multiple climate impacts.

Grant: Yeah, thank you. What, particularly, stood out for you in those areas?

Mel: Yeah, well, I think there were a few things that stood out. I think, despite the fact that this is a seven-country approach. What really drilled for me was that this is a very context specific focus. And we heard that through, I think, three main items that I’d like to share with you my thoughts on. 

So, the first one was the science and what we heard there was both the climate science but also the social science and the behavioral side of things. The second one was the participatory approach and the levels of collaboration. And the third one was the actual solution. So, the product innovation, and the de-risking both for the direct beneficiary but also for the private investors. So, I want to dive into those one by one if I can. Yeah, sure. Fantastic. So first, the science. I mean, we heard from Jo that this is one of the hottest regions in the world, this hill, which we know about, we know that this is going to heat up further, up to 1.5 times more than the rest of the world. We have an understanding about the knock-on effects of this on the ecosystems, the range lands in the forests, but also the pastoralists and the farmers who are dependent on these rains fed agricultural activities, to provide food security, and also to contribute, you know, that significant amount. I think she said it was 40% to GDP. 

So, understanding all of that scientific variability on both the social side of things as well leads us to a greater insight into things like what are those knock on effects such as conflict, you know, and Jo had mentioned a certain Study in sub-Sahara, where I think she said 1 standard deviation of a change in rainfall temperature could result in something like an 11% increase in intergroup conflict. Now, Grant, you know that my former job, you know, I did, I was working on a project called the Global chaos map. And we were looking exactly at that link of the nexus between food, energy, water, and the impact of insecurity of those resources and what that results in in terms of conflict on the ground. So, I think that this is a really helpful thing to understand as deeply as possible, you know, what, what is the context? What’s the specific context? And what are the impacts, not just in the immediate region, but also when we think about forced migration and migration from climate change, you know, these are significant, and I have a much wider impact on the immediate context. 

So, I thought that was very well defined, you know, to in order to reduce the risk, and to transfer risk. And to see the evidence of that on that very micro level is quite necessary. The second thing that really stood out to me, as I mentioned, this is participatory approach. I think this also allows us more context, more insight into the context building, and then the types of solutions that we would hope to see in place. So, this can include things like addressing intersectionality. So, you know, those issues, that the key target stakeholders, you know, the smallholder farmers, women and youth in particular, what are their other issues around, for example, food security, and links to food security, and those dependent on climate change. 

Also researching the last mile, and understanding the very vulnerable populations, and how we actually reach those individuals, who have very limited capacity to respond to the system shocks that we experience. And then also understanding, you know, what are the trigger points or the entry points or the barriers to actually taking up these types of products? You know, and we heard that in a given target group, only 18 to 20% of farmers are taking up insurance products? Well, why is that? And so, when we have this level, this high level of participation, we start to get an understanding of what are those answers and responses? What is it that the direct beneficiaries actually need from us.

And then on the second level of collaboration, you know, we see all of these different partners working together. And what I really liked about what Jo provided for us was an insight into these agencies using their particular expertise. So I said, for example, you know, bringing its knowledge in of the ag sector, the agricultural sector, there, that knowledge on poverty, and how hunger and those links, and also filling in gaps, you know, where there is no baseline, being able to look at their past experiences as an agency and fill baseline, then we’ve got the GCF, who is providing the de risking service, which is crucially important, bringing forward an $82.8 million grant. And that grant can then be leverage, you know, for other funders and investors, who would not automatically come to the table if that grant wasn’t there. And we’ve heard about the example she provided with the solar market, and how crucial it has been to have public monies invested as a starting point. And then we see greats like the African Development Bank, obviously, leading on the macro insurance component. 

The third insight I got from this interview, the podcast was about the product solution. So, knowing your customer, as Jo said, The KYC. So that we have a very customized and innovative product that actually fits what’s going on the ground. So that premium sliding scale that Jo mentioned, you know, going from an ad 20%, I can’t remember exactly. But sliding down the scale, taking out the risk for the smallholder farmer over a three-year period. Otherwise, they just couldn’t, they just wouldn’t contemplate actually taking up the digressive insurance mechanism. That’s there. So, I think for me, those are the three substantial points. And the last thing I guess I’d like to share is this point that Jo mentioned also on knowledge sharing, because the only way we’re going to improve the work we’re doing is by truly collaborating but then also sharing that amplifying that information out to the wider world. So, for instance, grant you know, we work with other groups, you know, the risk, informed early Action Partnership, for example, reap which also partners with GCF, you know, they’re focused particularly on the early warning information. systems. 

So that first area that Jo mentioned, but there’s also other humanitarian groups like the International Federation of Red Cross, Save the Children who we both worked with recently also. And then there are the map bureaus. So, bridging this gap between you know, the scientists, humanitarians and the finances, I think is critically important. And if we can share our knowledge and our lessons learned, both what worked and what didn’t, and I think Jo talked about this being somewhat of an experiment. It’s the first time this type of projects being done, then I think we’ll be able to move a lot quicker with a lot more intent. There my overall thoughts.

Grant: Excellent. Thank you very much, Mel, really appreciate the insights. 

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