Western Cape Government piloting new climate change tool
The Western Cape Government is exploring an innovative new concept called Municipal Risk Pooling (MURP) that will improve the capacity of municipalities to better plan, prepare, and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters.
The project is a collaborative effort between the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP),
Anton Bredell, the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, says MURP essentially amounts to neighbouring municipalities sharing a pool of finance between them, in order to better respond to climate related risks such as floods or droughts in their region.
“Municipalities are at the coalface of responding to the climate crisis yet have limited resources to do so. Alternative financing mechanisms are urgently needed to ensure that when disasters do happen the response can be adequate and to ensure adequate mitigation occurs.”
Kamleshan Pillay, the technical lead for the MURP project based at SouthSouthNorth in Cape Town, says: “Globally over 90% of disasters are now climate related and the economic costs of dealing with these events are growing. Alternative financing mechanisms are vital to deal with such risks. Risk Pools are one such mechanism.”
Sarah Birch, DEA&DP Climate Change Adaptation lead said: “Globally a tool like this has not yet been implemented among neighbouring municipalities like we are planning. The Western Cape will be the first pilot region for this program.”
Karen Shippey, Chief Director for Sustainability at DEA&DP said: “Climate change responses cover all facets of life. Much of the government service delivery we do needs to be tweaked in order to be able to better respond to, withstand, and cope with the impacts of climate change. Some of the work being done has additional costs and we need new and innovative financial mechanisms that can support these critical programs.”
The MURP project is funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) based in Canada, and includes partners from the University of Kwazulu-Natal, CICERO, Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) and GermanWatch. The MURP project seeks to build on the learnings of sovereign risk pools while creating new knowledge in the field of climate change finance.