Today, 125 million people need humanitarian assistance, more than 60 million are forcibly displaced, and 218 million have been affected by disasters each year over the past two decades. Against this backdrop, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), which took place in Istanbul on 23-24 May 2016. The purpose of the summit was to set a forward-looking agenda to address the current and future challenges and to initiate concrete actions and commitments to enable countries to better prepare for and respond to disasters and strengthen their resilience. The WHS was held at the highest political level and included more than 5,000 participants from governments, businesses, non-governmental organisations and civil society.
Recognizing that disasters are becoming more frequent and intense - with devastating humanitarian consequences – the Secretary-General´s agenda calls for a shift from reactively managing crises to proactively managing disaster risks. This requires increased investment in disaster risk management capacities and building of new partnerships, including with the private sector. Taking up that call, the GIDRM and GIZ co-organized the side event “Public-Private Partnerships for Resilience and Localized Response”. Discussing incentives for the private sector to integrate disaster risk management into business models, the Vice-Chair of the GIZ Management Board, Dr Christoph Beier, emphasized that proper risk management is in the interest of each and every business. It does not only reduce losses and damage, but also increases a company’s competitiveness through its ability to demonstrate preparedness to potential customers, to continue operations and to fulfil their contracts in the case of a disaster.
The GIDRM looks particularly into the role of the private sector and has actively engaged a number of German businesses in its network to integrate risk management and resilience building in their own models and practices, and to develop tangible solutions together. GIDRM and GIZ are also collaborating with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) to build disaster-resilient small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Asia. The approach is developed in close cooperation with national government agencies for the promotion of SMEs such as the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (OSMEP) in Thailand, as well as with chambers of commerce, and respective national stakeholders in disaster risk management. At the opening of the side event, Ms. Natthamone Poomichai, Specialist on SMEs Promotion with OSMEP, further noted that the establishment of ‘one-stop-service’ centres by government agencies and business associations to provide disaster risk management related support needed by SMEs is at the forefront of this initiative.