Introducing financial tools for small-scale fishers in Melanesia 

Small-scale fishing is a critical source of income in Melanesia – with between 250,000 and 500,000 people in Papua New Guinea (PNG), and 50% of all rural households in Fiji, estimated to participate in some form of subsistence fishing. However, both Fiji and PNG are exceptionally vulnerable to climate and ocean-related risks, which threaten the lives, livelihoods and food security of these populations.

Fiji and PNG need financial products aimed at empowering small-scale fishing communities to help them recover from shock events or long-term ocean-related stressors such as sea level rise, temperature increases and acidification.

ORRAA members WWF and Willis Towers Watson are developing targeted financial tools for these communities to enhance their financial literacy and resilience. The project will introduce a program of novel micro-finance products and identify the necessary institutional arrangements and mechanisms for governments, enterprises and households to reduce and share risk and encourage greater environmental stewardship.

The project has four elements: 1) encouraging communities and practitioners to collaboratively identify risk management solutions to specific climate hazards; 2) developing financial products to support climate adaptation; 3) providing financial literacy training to households to encourage them to subscribe to those products; and 4) securing sustainable, long-term community coverage, for example, by establishing cooperatives to pool risk.

The initiative will design and deploy the first household-level insurance products in the Pacific.