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Private Sector Engagement in Disaster Risk Reduction

Private sector engagement and innovation in disaster risk management is good for business, government and citizens alike. Making risk-informed decisions and investments helps to limit private sector disaster losses, improves business continuity, reduces uncertainty, and provides new business opportunities. Disaster risk management by the private sector, and public-private partnerships, also has wider socio-economic benefits such as reduced uncertainty in economic forecasts and growth projections, and reduced risks to life and personal property.

The need for private sector investment in and consideration of disaster risk has been emphasized by recent high profile reports such as the UNISDR’s 2013 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction: From Shared Risk to Shared Value, the Business Case for Disaster Risk Reduction.

However, some examples of disaster risk management in the private sector are more successful than others. This project, implemented by Boston-based Meister Consultants Group, sought to understand what success looks like for private sector DRM initiatives and public-private partnerships, and set out recommendations for public and private sector decision makers.

Recent update (2013):

The project team analysed over 100 examples of innovative public-private partnership and private sector initiatives. The resulting report Resilience in Action: Lessons from Public‐Private Collaborations around the World distils lessons learnt from this analysis and showcases nine innovative, successful case studies. Resilience in Action sets out the reasons why businesses invest in disaster risk management and adaptation, the barriers to private sector investment, the players and partnerships involved, and techniques and strategies for success.

A Summary for Policymakers is also available, which centres on the recommendations stemming from the analysis. The set of nine, two-page case studies are included in both documents, and are also available collectively as a standalone document.

As the private sector is responsible for 70-85 percent of capital investment in most economies, it holds an important decision-making power over how disaster risk is addressed across all industries. Cooperation and collaboration within private businesses and with the governments and other stakeholders is fundamental in the effort to build resilient communities, economies and nations.

The working session will offer solutions that promote private sector engagement in reducing risks and building resilience, highlighting solutions for risk-informed investments. The session will demonstrate how an enabling environment can be created to get the private sector to invest in disaster risk reduction and resilience building.

The session will also explore opportunities to present strategies for public private partnerships and collaborations and resilient operational management of businesses. Recognizing the gaps in measuring progress and accountability, the session will promote incorporation of private sector needs in disaster risk reduction monitoring including through indicators that capture resilient investments and/or risk-sensitivity of investments.