Set up global fund to insure against eco-disasters – Russia

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has used his blog to call for an international fund to insure against major environmental disasters like the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Writing on Friday, World Environment Day, the Russian premier said that the economy and environment were not at odds with one another and a healthy economy required a healthy environment.

He argued that even the richest companies and countries may not always have deep enough pockets to make good following environmental disasters and that an international fund could provide insurance and re-insurance against worst case scenarios like the BP oil spill.

“Events in the Gulf of Mexico have grabbed worldwide attention,” says his blog.

“We cannot fully seize their visual reality, let alone the entire legal and financial consequences, or the full effects they have on the natural environment.

“We therefore need to look at what further measures we can take at the global level to prevent such disasters.

“First, we need to insure ourselves as best we can against the possibility of such disasters. Second, we need to put in place a modern framework of international law in this area, perhaps in the form of a convention or several agreements that will address issues of the kind arising from disasters such as that in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Yes, we have international laws, international maritime law, for example, which addresses a whole series of matters, but I am sure that the scale of this disaster, the scale of such other potential disasters, goes beyond the legal framework currently in place.

“Perhaps we should consider setting up a global fund, into which countries would put money for insuring or re-insuring against these sorts of risks, because in some cases even the richest companies and countries might not have enough money. I believe this is something worth looking at, worth discussing.”

“Russia could put forward an initiative in this area. I think I will raise this subject at the G20 summit in Canada later this month.”

Sam Bond

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