Integration of Risk Management in Private Sector Practices: Insights from the VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction for the Americas
By Chloe Demrovsky
President, DRI International
I am proud that DRI was invited to participate in the VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction for the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia hosted by United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). It was the third high-level meeting of ministers and authorities on the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 – 2030 in the Americas and the Caribbean. The opening session featured Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Mami Mizutori, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Featuring more than 1,000 delegates, the main objective of the platform was to discuss the way in which governments, ministers, civil society leaders, technical and scientific institutions, the private sector and the media can promote the application and measurement of the expected results of the Sendai Framework in the Americas. The intent is that member states will integrate disaster risk reduction in all areas of activity to make the region and its communities more resilient through positioning disaster risk reduction as a public policy priority and by developing and strengthening nation and local disaster risk reduction plans and strategies. Recent disasters in the region including as a result of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season stress the urgent necessity to strengthen national programs, regional cooperation, and public-private partnerships.
As we in the business continuity and risk management communities know, it is impossible to achieve resilience without an active role for the private sector. Increasingly, outreach and coordination with the business community has become a focus for international policymakers. DRI is well positioned to help facilitate this effort through our participation in partnerships like the ARISE Initiative. As a part of this work, I was honored to be asked to chair the official private sector session during the afternoon of the first day. Our session objectives were to:
I was joined by a distinguished international panel including Ambassador Javier Paulinich from the Permanent Secretary of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA). We featured three cases from Latin America by Ricardo Lozano, President of the Colombian National Water Society and representative from the National Business Association of Colombia (ANDI); Lida Janeth González, Executive Director of Colombia’s FENALCO; and Pablo Rojas, Environmental Affairs Director for Costa Rica’s Business Alliance for Development (AED). All three of these organizations exemplify the importance of professional organizations and associations to foster cooperation and collaboration before, during and after disasters.
The second half focused on examples from North America and the Caribbean featuring José Acosta, President of Public Affairs, UPS Americas Region, UPS Foundation; Louis Potter, BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association, President and Vice-Chairman of the National Parks Trust of The Virgin Islands (NPTVI); and Jeremy Collymore, professor at West Indies University and former Executive Director for the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). In particular, our colleagues from the Caribbean had much to add to our knowledge of best practices in the field after their experiences during last year’s hurricane season. The session was conducted half in Spanish and half in English and a video is available to view here.
After a busy first day, the second day also featured a number of opportunities to share DRI’s perspective with the regional policymaking community. A highlight was the meeting of the Science and Technical Advisory Group, which we supported during the rewrite of UNISDR’s Terminology for Disaster Management. DRI’s International Glossary for Resilience served as a source document for that effort. At the meeting, we were able to liaise with members of the official United States Delegation headed by Daniel Kaniewski, PhD, the Deputy Administrator of Resilience for FEMA. The delegation also included representatives from NASA and NOAA. We look forward to building on this cooperation as we continue our efforts in the disaster risk reduction space.
On the last day, we were invited to discuss public-private partnerships and the ARISE Initiative at a private breakfast meeting with Assistant Secretary-General Mami Mizutori at which I was able to explain the value proposition offered by DRI and our Certified Professional network. Overall, the platform provided a number of excellent opportunities to showcase our work and advocate for public-private cooperation to improve resilience. I look forward to building on this progress.