The World Bank Board of Directors today approved a US$ 200 million Program for Results operation to support Morocco’s preparedness to respond to natural disasters. The operation will reward the achievement of specific results in the way the government plans for and manages the risk of disasters, while also strengthening the country’s ability to cope with the costs of potential damages.
Exacerbated by climate change, the impact of natural disasters on Morocco’s economy amounts to an average US$ 800 million per year and causes significant human casualties. The Integrated Disaster Risk Management and Resilience operation approved today aims at introducing a comprehensive approach to managing natural disasters by combining institutional reforms with disaster risk-reduction investments and the introduction of a catastrophe risk insurance program.
“The increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters are a real and present threat to development outcomes globally, and Morocco is no exception,” said Marie Françoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Maghreb Country Director. “In addition to damaging vital infrastructure, natural hazards can wipe out people’s assets and their livelihoods. The poorest are most at risk. Morocco has committed to put resilience squarely at the center of its policies and investments – we are glad to have been able to contribute to this endeavor.”
The operation will build Morocco’s resilience by supporting the development of a “national resilience fund” which aims to promote investments in projects – both at the national and local level – that will better prepare Morocco for and help manage the impact of future potential disasters. This will be complemented with the introduction of a national catastrophe risk insurance program aimed at better protecting citizens, including the most vulnerable ones, and businesses against natural disasters.
“The national catastrophe risk insurance program offers an innovative dual approach, which builds on a strong partnership with the private insurance industry and a solidarity fund, to protect households and businesses against catastrophic events. This program can be a good example for emerging economies seeking to enhance their financial resilience against natural disasters” said Olivier Mahul, Global Lead of Disaster Risk Finance and co-Task Team Leader.
The operation, which brings together a number of development partners including the Swiss government, will cover risks ranging from floods, droughts, tsunamis, landslides and earthquakes. Through the promotion of a participatory approach, it will also ensure the involvement of local populations in disaster preparedness, by instituting a system of citizen feedback and grievance redress, as well as build on Morocco’s decentralization agenda by targeting local communities to strengthen risk management practices at the local level.
“Morocco’s disaster risk management and resilience program is particularly timely,” said Axel Baeumler, Senior Infrastructure Economist and co-Task Team Leader. “As the host of the next global climate talks later this year, Morocco will be able to share lessons from its innovative and ambitious reform program which could be replicated in other disaster risk management and climate change adaptation programs across the region and beyond.”