Businesses help build more resilient communities

TROPICAL Cyclone experiences in Vanuatu have proven the need to have partnerships at all levels in managing the impacts of disasters.

Businesses and partners met recently to launch the Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee (VBRC) that will coordinate government and partners to work with the private sectors in helping communities prepare, respond and recover from disasters.

Acting Director of the National Disaster Management Office, Alice Sanga said, “Our Tropical Cyclone Pam and Donna experiences have highlighted the importance of partnerships at all levels of disaster risk management.”

She added, “The establishment of the Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee, I believe will positively contribute to strengthening and streamlining private sector engagement with government, regional and international actors in both disaster risk management and on climate change issues.”

The VBRC was launched by the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to also support businesses improve their resilience.

General Manager of VCCI, Astrid Boulekone said, “This is an exciting step [for us] to work with government, nongovernment organisations and international agencies through the disaster risk management process.

“We can now be recognised as a formal partner; so that we can be both present on the ground to meet needs of businesses and have more strategic engagement with partners such as the Government.”

Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council (FBDRC) Co-Chair, Leonard Chan said, “After the impact of Tropical Cyclone Winston, we saw the solidarity of people in Fiji during response and recovery. This clearly indicated that ‘disaster is everyone’s business’, and allowed us to seize the opportunity.

“We also discovered that 75 per cent of businesses did not have a business continuity plan,” he said.

A year since its inception, the FBDRC have formed partnerships with Government, United Nation agencies and non-government organisations to jointly improve services to communities. This included formalising partnerships with the Fiji National Disaster Management Office to provide more coordinated support to communities after a disaster.

To support National Private Sector Organisations (NPSO) across the region, the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) will launch a Pacific Regional Business Resilience Council at the end of July. Membership of the Regional Council will be open to all NPSOs who are members of PIPSO, including the VBRC. The Regional Council will promote a culture of risk management for businesses, provide tools, resources and peer-to-peer learning and exchanges between businesses (with a focus on SMEs) and councils from all Pacific countries.

The VBRC was launched on July 6.

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