UNDP Resident Representative, Frode Mauring keynote speech at the MEA Risk and Insurance forum 2016

Oct 9, 2016

Dubai (UAE) – Winners of the MEA Risk & Insurance Awards.

Frode Mauring, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. to the United Arab Emirates -also covering the states of Oman and Qatar- Speech at the MEA Risk and Insurance Forum

Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

As most of you are aware, last year the 2030 development agenda was adopted by the world’s heads of states and governments, and the Sustainable Development Goals came to life.  17 SDGs, as they are now called, were adopted. This agenda is the product of an inclusive, participatory process, including the voices of almost 10 million people across the globe, through innovative internet polling.

This is a Plan of Action for People, Planet, Prosperity, Partnership and Peace (the 5 P’s).

These goals are not the first of their kind. You might recall that at the turn of the twenty-first century, the Millennium Declaration was adopted by all UN member states at the time.  For the first time the world had time-bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions, all while promoting equality between women and men, ensuring global access to education, and promoting environmental sustainability. For fifteen years, Governments, international organizations, and civil society groups around the world worked in unison to cut in half the world’s extreme poverty rate; to send more children to school, girls as well as boys; to prevent the spread of life threatening disease and to reduce developing countries’ debts, among other important achievements.  

Now with the SDGs, nations have vowed to build on that experience and achievements, and shift the approach from eradicating poverty to a broader scope and a more inclusive approach to promoting economic growth, social development and environmental protection.

From now until the year 2030, the world will devote its efforts to achieve the commitments made in this new global agenda, based on three key principles: Universality, meaning these goals and targets are relevant to all governments and actors; Integration, which ensures policies strike a balance between the social, economic and environmental dimensions; and finally the principle of “No one left behind”, advocating for countries to go beyond just averages and ensure that progress on the SDGs benefit all.

The Sustainable Development Goals take stock of the fact that development is most successful—and most sustainable—when it balances economic growth that benefits all people; social development that enables people to take part in their own governance; and environmental protection that ensures we have a decent world to live in.

This development process, however, is tremendously complex.  Throughout the world there is now an inherent and enhanced risk due to climate change, and stresses such as earthquakes, cyclones, droughts, coupled with conflicts, proliferation of diseases, economic crises and commodity price shocks are straining countries and communities, and setting back development.

As the United Nations Country Team in the UAE, we have prioritized innovation for Sustainable Development as one of our strategic areas of intervention, and I believe it is with the lens of innovation that we need to look at the 2030 Agenda.

The insurance sector will play a crucial role to ensuring substantial strides in sustainable development.  It has the potential to help countries and communities reduce risk, recover from shocks, and support a return to the path towards development, thereby reinforcing the basic human rights of life, livelihood and shelter in the face of natural hazards.

The contributions of the industry to sustainable development relates to the different roles it plays.

As a risk carrier, insurance builds the financial resilience of communities, businesses and households to unexpected losses such as those resulting from natural disasters, currency fluctuations, policy shifts, illness or accident. With climate related disasters increasing steadily due to climate change, resilience in communities is paramount. In 2013, three times as many people lost their homes to natural causes than to war. Access to insurance that is affordable and reliable is essential to get communities back on their feet from devastation. This in turn enables investment and supports economic resilience and growth.

As risk managers, insurance systems have the capacity to develop an understanding and reduction of risks as related to emerging issues and trends, for example through mapping out climate risks.

Finally, as the world’s third largest asset class, insurance systems can align their investment activities with long-term sustainability interests.

Structures such as the United Nations’ Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI), which has been in place since 2012, provide a global insurance industry framework to address environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities.

Many of you are probably familiar with PSI, since these voluntary and aspirational principles have been adopted by insurers representing 15 per cent of world premium volume. These principles ensure that the entire insurance value chain is carried out in a responsible and forward-looking way, focusing on environmental, social and governance issues, and promoting innovative approaches.

The principles are also aligned with the UN Global Compact Principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, accountability and transparency, which makes this development a noteworthy step towards integration of sustainable development issues into insurance regulation.

Insurance and risk management can also be thought of as a policy tool for development sustainability, as they have as much potential as banking and investment in realising the Sustainable Development Goals.

The SDGs are indeed ambitious, and they will require that we alter the way we live, work, produce, consume, generate our energy, transport ourselves, and design our cities. We must also not lose sight of the risks that populations might face is these sustainability targets are not met.


I trust you enter the rest of this conference with an enhanced understanding of sustainable developments and its importance to all our realities.  I trust that you keep it in mind, for your own sake, for future generations’ sake and for the future of the planet we want to continue living in. Good luck with the conference participation and with your future contributions to sustainability.

On behalf of the United Nations, please rest assured you can always count on our partnership and facilitation of knowledge-sharing to be able to make substantial progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

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