Tool to help Commonwealth nations respond to natural disasters

Caption: BINGOL (TURKEY), June 14, 2020 (Xinhua) -- Photo taken on June 14, 2020 shows the ruins after an earthquake in Elmali village of Yedisu district of Bingol province, eastern Turkey. An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.7 hit Turkey's eastern province of Bingol on Sunday, the country's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said. (File)

New Delhi, (Asian independent) A new online portal launched by the Commonwealth Secretariat will help the member countries easily find the right type of financial support to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters.

The Commonwealth Disaster Risk Finance Portal will serve as a “one-stop shop” where information on international funding earmarked for catastrophes is compiled, streamlined and made easy to navigate.

For governments, the tool will simplify the process of identifying the financing best-suited to their needs, and connect them with the relevant contacts to access the funds more efficiently.

The portal will not only serve as a database of valuable information, but also help build the capacity of governments to seek and secure disaster risk finance.

In the long term, it will help promote more strategic responses to disaster management and build financial resilience, especially for climate-vulnerable countries.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “The increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters, including those brought about by climate change, has cost the Commonwealth countries billions in damage and lost economic opportunities, and hinders their ability to achieve their sustainable development goals.

“The need for a practical tool to support disaster risk financing is therefore urgent. This portal seeks to reduce the obstacles governments face in mobilising essential funding, while strengthening financial resilience to disasters, both before and after they strike.”

The Disaster Risk Finance Portal outlines a broad range of funding instruments from various providers, such as multilateral banks, international organisations, and bilateral cooperations.

The portal seeks to clarify the complex funding processes linked to these providers, such as differing eligibility or access criteria, and challenging terms and conditions.

Types of financing solutions available include grants, loans, contingent credit, bonds, insurance schemes and other programmes.

It also offers a simplified guide to assess risks, costs, benefits and timeliness of funding as well as discipline in planning.

As an interactive platform, it enhances learning and exchange through case studies, a knowledge bank, and information on initiatives and programs offered by our development partners.

The web tool was launched on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ Meeting held virtually this week.