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Cat Bond Issuance Since 1996: Still Mainly for Rich Country Risks

“Cat” bonds are effectively a cheaper source of large-scale insurance coverage against clearly measured risks like earthquakes, storms, or even disease outbreaks. Generally, though, coverage hasn’t trickled down to the poorer and most at-risk countries—precisely those which are most vulnerable when aid fails to arrive or arrives piecemeal. Less than a twentieth of the total value of these products issued since 1996 covers risks in countries that the World Bank classifies as upper middle-income or below (places where income per capita is $12,475 or lower). They have mainly covered risks in the US and other high income countries (HICs).

Estimated Election Costs with Biometrics

Estimated Election Costs With Biometrics

While biometric technology can be costly—usually from $15 million to $100 million per election—its price tag seems relatively minor compared to the potential costs of post-election violence. This can run into the billions of dollars as economic growth stalls, in addition to less readily quantifiable human losses. If biometrics can make even a modest contribution to delivering more credible elections—and thus reducing the likelihood of violence—their use could be a worthwhile bet.

Damages Mainly in Rich Countries vs. Deaths in Poor Ones - 1980-2010

Damages Mainly in Rich Countries vs. Deaths in Poor Ones, 1980-2010

From a financial perspective, disasters appear to have been kind to developing countries. That makes sense: highways in Tokyo, for example, cost more than roads in Sri Lanka. But the costs in terms of human lives are dramatically higher in developing countries. That makes humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters highly regressive—their toll falls disproportionately on the poorest and most vulnerable. 

The Humanitarian Financing Deficit is Growing Quickly

This chart compares agencies’ requests for funding through humanitarian-response plans. Underinvestment in resilience and increasing costs due to late response show up as a rising deficit, as calls on donors’ humanitarian budgets go unmet. Since response plans are filed after crises develop, funding is late almost by design. And it arrives in the straitjacket of annual disbursements, despite the multi-year nature of many crises 

Emergency Aid is Broken: Using Insurance to Make Disasters Dull

Millions of people live with the risk of rapid-onset disasters like cyclones, slow-onset disasters like drought, or the threat of conflict. We often wait for these crises to develop to collect money from donors, a delay that costs lives and dramatically raises the costs of responding. As a result, there was an $8 billion gap between what frontline agencies requested to tackle crises last year and what they received. 

Brexit Breakdown: What Now for Global Development? Podcast with Owen Barder

It’s been three weeks since the UK voted to leave the European Union in the move popularly known as Brexit, and the consequences are still becoming apparent. Senior fellow and director of CGD Europe Owen Barder joins the podcast from London this week to take a balanced look at possibilities for the UK’s future, and consider implications for the country and the developing world. 

Survival Migration: New Models to Address the Global Crisis of Migration and Displacement

The world was caught off-guard by recent mass movements of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa. But this is not one brief storm to be weathered and forgotten. These mass movements will only continue in coming years as conflict, disasters, extreme poverty, and other hardships displace people from their homes. Today the recent rise in 'survival migration' is commonly cited to justify political upheaval and isolationism in both Europe and the United States.

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