The World Food Programme (WFP) in partnership with Start Network has purchased the first replica of the African Risk Capacity (ARC). The initiative with the name ARC Replica provides innovative climate risk insurance policies for West Africans in drought-prone communities.

The policies will allow international organizations, NGOs and African governments to build a sovereign risk capacity to respond to natural disasters. The purchased policy is expected to release a total of $ 49.5 million to about 1.3 million people in Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, and the Gambia.

In addition, this insurance will prevent a situation where humanitarian organizations respond too late, leaving affected populations open to further risk, thereby enhancing national preparedness and risk management efforts in West Africa.

For the purpose of ensuring assistance reaches people in need quickly, ARC and ARC Replica use pre-agreed triggers such as rainfall satellite data, which allow for rapid response for activities such as cash transfers and the distribution of food and nutritional supplements.

With the parametric triggers, pay-outs can be made as early as two weeks after a failed harvest occurs, much quicker than the traditional humanitarian aid. Initially, families had to take children out of schools, migrate or sell livestock and seeds meant for the next agricultural season before aid gets to them.

Furthermore, to guarantee effectiveness from beneficial countries, Start Network and WFP have worked with each insured country to learn how resources and assistance can most efficiently be delivered under the policies.

ARC Replica in Mali, the Gambia, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania is led by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). WFP helps in feeding people caught in conflict and disasters and laying the foundations for a better future for them. For WFP, ARC Replica fits into a wider risk financing portfolio with forecast-based financing and micro-insurance programs.

The Start Network is the Replica partner in Senegal. Its members in the country are the Catholic Relief Services, Action Against Hunger, Oxfam, Plan International, World Vision and Save the Children. The agency aims to generate evidence from the ARC Replica initiative to inform the development of a global financing mechanism for humanitarian responders.

By Tobiloba Ishola.

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