Scaling up agricultural adaptation through insurance

Building a participatory index insurance scheme in Honduras. Photo: J.L. Urrea (CCAFS)
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Event Date and time


Hilton Bonn

Bringing together insurance, big data and agricultural innovation

As climate change takes hold, increasingly erratic weather and climate shifts threaten already tenuous agricultural livelihoods and food security in the developing world. Agricultural insurance is an important tool which can help address this risk, by providing indemnity payments to farmers. However, traditional insurance schemes rely on physical verification of losses, which is costly and not viable for many remote rural smallholders.

Fortunately, considerable advances have been made in the field of index-based agricultural insurance, which involves linking payouts to scientific ‘triggers’ or thresholds beyond which agricultural production begin to suffer. Index-based insurance schemes are now being piloted and scaled up in many countries including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, and Nigeria.

Given the number of index-based agricultural insurance initiatives globally, the pace of change in science and technology, and interest in insurance as means to adapt to climate change, it is opportune to pull together the collective experience and draw lessons for further implementation and scaling up. Furthermore, there has been a growing emphasis on climate insurance in the UNFCCC processes, and the Paris Agreement explicitly identifies insurance solutions as an area of cooperation to address climate impacts.

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) will host a one-day conference on ‘Scaling up Agricultural Adaptation through Insurance” on the sidelines of UNFCCC SBSTA week in Bonn.

Join us in this one-day conference that will bring together the climate change, agriculture and insurance communities to highlight the value of index-based insurance, draw lessons and identify key challenges for effective scaling up of index-based insurance as a climate change adaptation action.


Time Session Speakers
09:00-10:30 Opening plenary session

Chair: Olga Speckhardt, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture

  Welcoming remarks

Roberto Ridolfi, Director for Sustainable Growth and Development at DG Development and Cooperation, EuropeAid (TBC)


Opening keynote: Taking stock of index-based agricultural insurance: Where are we, and where are we going? (15mins)

Ulrich Hess, Senior Advisor, GIZ

  Key breakthrough and priority challenges (15 mins)

Annette Detken, Head of Division, KfW Development Bank

  Way forward: Scaling up insurance (15 mins) Rahab Kariuki, Managing Director, ACRE Africa
  Discussions (30 mins)  
10:35-11:05 Coffee break  
11:05-12:30 Plenary session 2  
  Farmers' experiences and needs from insurance (15 mins) Ishmael Sunga, CEO, Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU)
  Breakthroughs in data availability: implications for insurance (15 mins) Dan Osgood, Lead Scientist, Financial Instruments Sector Team, International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI)

Bundling insurance with agricultural innovations that are climate-proofed (15 mins)

SwissRe (TBC)

Setting the scene for the Parallel sessions:

Summary of key issues from main 3 presenters and how it relates to the background paper (10 mins)

Jon Hellin, Value Chain and Poverty Specialist, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center  (CIMMYT)
12:30-13:30 Lunch  
13:30-15:00 Parallel sessions on Partnerships and Pathways for Tackling the Big Challenges:  

Connecting insurance with farmers’ needs (CTA)


Big data to improve index insurance products

Stan Wood, Senior Program Officer, Ag Development Program, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (TBC)


Connecting insurance to climate-smart technologies and practice (CIMMYT)

Rose Goslinga, Pula Advisors (TBC)

Miwa Kato, UNFCCC (TBC)

15:00-15:30 Coffee break  

Closing plenary session


Report back from parallel sessions


High-level panel discussion on Partnership opportunities, Pathways, and Next steps (representatives from UNFCCC, insurance industry, development community, farmers and research community)

Moderator: Jimmy Smith, Director General, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)


Koko Warner, Manager, Impacts, Vulnerability and Risks subprogramme,  UNFCCC

Janie Rioux, Agriculture and Food Security Senior Specialist, Green Climate Fund (GCF) (TBC)

Dyborn Chibonga, CEO, National Smallholders Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM) (TBC)

Strive Masiyiwa (Econet) (TBC)

  Closing remarks  

Should you be interested to attend this conference, please send an email with your contact details to