The Asian Business Forum on Risk Reduction and Resilience Building, which was held from 20-21 April 2016, was jointly organized by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and GIZ and GIDRM. In the focus of the discussion was the joint project on strengthening the resilience of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Representatives of all four countries shared their experiences and the progress made.
While the private sector is the primary generator of wealth in the Asia-Pacific region, it´s profitability and growth is increasingly affected by both moderate hazards and major disasters. SMEs are particularly vulnerable to these risks due their lack of investment in disaster risk management. In order to improve their understanding and management of disaster risks, the forum provided a platform to share and learn from the experiences of more than 200 participants from private enterprises, governments and development partners. The forum was further supported by the Global Disaster Preparedness Center and the Asia Foundation.
During his opening speech, Mr. Prügel, German Ambassador to Thailand, shared some of the challenges that German businesses faced after the floods in Germany in the past years. Mr. Helming, the Country Director of GIZ for Malaysia and Thailand, elaborated on the opportunities and challenges in convincing the private sector to invest in disaster risk management and resilience. Taking up on this issue, the GIDRM contributed to the forum with a technical session on Tourism Sector Resilience, introducing the Hotel Resilient Initiative, which aims to create standardized approaches and market value in the tourism sector by developing a multi-hazard risk management standard module for hotels and resorts.
In his concluding remarks, Mr. Handloegten, Head of Management Unit of the GIDRM, emphasized that “the risks for the private sector are not limited to single enterprises, sectors or industries. Instead, they can have serious consequences on entire economies and development gains.” He further noticed that strengthening business resilience requires the cooperation of actors from the public and private sector, academia and civil society to develop systematic solutions that are adapted to the demands of the private sector.