Critical theme: Can insurance promote human wildlife co-existence?

Critical theme

Our discussion about the potential role of insurance in mitigating human-wildlife conflict has been postponed. A new date for the event will be advised when available.

Three elephants eating

People and elephants share space across roughly 44% of Sri Lanka (Photo: Peter Winter via FlickrCC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

This event has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. More information about a new date will be provided on this page when available.

IIED will host a critical theme event to discuss whether insurance schemes can promote human-wildlife co-existence and protect women, men and wildlife, with examples from Kenya and Sri Lanka.

Human-wildlife conflict is a growing global problem affecting millions of the world’s poorest women and men and having major impacts on biodiversity. With rural population growth, agricultural expansion and infrastructure development, human-wildlife conflict is increasing in many parts of the world, particularly around protected areas.

Elephants are a major source of human-wildlife conflict in Africa and Asia. They trample or eat crops, damage property, and sometimes cause human injury or even death. In Kenya, about 35 people are killed by elephants each year and in Sri Lanka elephants kill about 80 people annually.

This has major consequences for biodiversity. Conflict frequently leads to killing of wildlife by local people, in defence or revenge. In Kenya, wildlife authorities shoot an estimated 120 problem elephants every year. In Sri Lanka over 250 endangered elephants are killed by farmers in retaliation.

Mitigation measures such as electric fences have had mixed success. 

One solution is to provide economic incentives for farmers to co-exist with wildlife, such as insurance. But so far, few insurance schemes exist in developing countries and they rarely involve commercial insurance companies.

This critical theme event will explore the role of insurance schemes in mitigating HWC. Drawing on experiences in Kenya and Sri Lanka through the Livelihood Insurance from Elephants (LIFE) programme funded by the UK’s Darwin Initiative, our speakers will discuss the benefits and challenges of engaging commercial insurance providers.

Key questions for discussion

  • Is commercial insurance a viable option to promote human-wildlife co-existence? 
  • Can it reduce poverty for women and men and lessen wildlife fatalities? 
  • What needs to happen next to engage the global insurance industry?

About the panellists

The discussions will be followed by drinks, food and an opportunity to network.

About the critical theme series

IIED’s critical theme events create a space for conversation and debate on key and current sustainable development issues. Through the convening of expert speakers and external stakeholders, IIED aims to share information, inform audiences and facilitate discussions on the imaginative solutions needed to solve global challenges.

The seminars cover a wide range of speakers and topics. Previous events have looked at 'Small-scale farming and the future of the European food system’, ‘How can inclusive finance accelerate universal energy access?’ and, most recently ‘Can China help build a global eco-civilisation?’.