News 12 Jul 2017
Helping businesses in the Pacific region better prepare for natural disasters is the focus of a new joint initiative, recently launched by the Pacific Community (SPC), Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) and Fiji Business Disaster and Resilience Council (FBDRC). The initiative also has funding support from the European Union (EU) and the ACP Group of States.
An interactive toolkit outlining the devastating impact disaster causes on the region’s private sector along with ways to reduce it and information on how to create long-term plans for business owners is the focus of the research launched.
The toolkit contains resources to be used by businesses to support their business resilience but also their suppliers to ensure the region is more prepared for future disasters.
Already, some regional businesses have provided positive feedback about the toolkit, developed in the framework of the "Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific (BSRP)" Project.
Chief Executive Officer for PIPSO Mereia Volavola says the toolkit shows the need for businesses to plan for risks, and also highlights the real impact disasters cause to the private sector across the region.
“It is important we build a risk management culture for businesses across the Pacific,” Mereia says.
“We know when the private sector is resilient and prepared for disaster so too are our communities, and the private sector is critical in supporting community preparedness so this toolkit helps businesses easily create their own disaster plans whilst ensuring when disaster strikes their ability to survive is already planned for.”
Chair of FBDRC Morika Hunter is already planning the roll out of training for the toolkit and says it provides action for businesses to genuinely help them protect their bottom line.
“Research shows one in every four businesses typically won’t survive disasters if they aren’t fully operational within one month of the disaster striking,” Morika says.
“This is a terrifying statistic when you think most of our businesses in the region are small to medium in size - supporting the sector to increase its resilience is critical not only for the bottom line of businesses but for our communities that work for the private sector.”
SPC’s Deputy Director-General, Dr. Audrey Aumua says it is crucial for SPC to take the lead on work like this to ensure disaster resilience targets both the private and public sectors alike and supports the integration of this work across the entire region.
Meanwhile, Head of Infrastructure and Natural resources at the Delegation of the EU for the Pacific, Jesús Laviǹa recognises the role of private sector as a driver of inclusive growth and job creation, ideally placed to deliver on the promise of sustainable and socially inclusive economic development.
"Supporting the sector to ensure the resilience of physical assets and planning responses could offer possibilities for value creation,” he says.
“Resilient practices and innovative solutions can be developed and become an important driver of future business and growth for the SME sector - unlocking this potential for value creation can additionally foster economic growth in the Pacific region.”
The toolkit is available online at www.pipso.org.fj/stayopen, and it will be implemented by the private sector team over the coming months.
(Photo caption: Chair of Fiji Business Disaster and Resilience Council Morika Hunter launching the toolkit.)