The recent launch of the Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council (FBDRC) is a concrete step towards meaningfully engaging the private sector in the Government’s disaster emergency preparedness, response and recovery activities.
The newly established Council was announced at the special session for the Connecting Business Initiative (CBI) at the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Turkey in May of this year by Fiji Prime Minister, Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama.
The CBI is designed to support the increase need for coordination not only in Fiji but regionally across the Pacific. It is a global multi-stakeholder initiative led by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Hon. Inia Seruiratu, the FBDRC is the national body that will assist businesses coordinate with Government in disaster response and recovery, and improve their business continuity and preparedness.
“We are witnessing the fruits of the multi-stakeholder approach by putting into action the FBDC in recognition of Fiji’s private sector networks and by developing smart public-private partnerships”, said Hon. Seruiratu.
He added, “The establishment of the FBDRC demonstrates Government’s firm commitment towards strengthening partnerships between the public and private sector to better coordinate and monitor humanitarian responses and relief efforts.”
According to Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation Chief Executive Officer, Mr Nesbitt Hazelman, “Tropical Cyclone Winston highlighted the level of support that businesses can offer to get the most out of relief and recovery efforts.”
Adding his support for the formation of the Council at the launch of the Council, Dr Asif Chida, the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji’s Inclusive Growth Team Leader and Private Sector Specialist, congratulated the Council for taking these concrete steps to better coordination.
"Disasters are getting more intense, more severe and we have to be ready. We need innovative approaches and it has to be a public-private partnership," said Dr Chida.
More than 38 companies were represented in a lessons learned workshop prior to the launch where they were involved in building understanding on what worked well and contributed to recommendations moving forward.
“The private sector has a critical role to play in supporting governments to respond to climate change impacts and disasters”, said UNDP’s Pacific Risk Resilience Programme (PRRP), CCDRM Technical Advisor, Nicola Glendining.
“There are two distinct, but interdependent components to private sector engagement in CCDRM.”
“On one hand, it is critical for the private sector to make risk informed decisions and investments that limit their own losses from disasters, improve business continuity and reduce uncertainty. On the other hand, the private sector has a critical role to play in supporting Government led management of climate change and disasters.”
“We believe that the FBDRC can address both components”, said Ms. Glendining.
The workshop allowed businesses to contribute to an action plan both for internal processes and support for increased disaster coordination into the future. The results and recommendations will be handed to Government for its National TC Winston Lessons Learned Report that will be submitted to cabinet.
Jone Tuiipelehaki Raqauqau, Communications Associate – Pacific Risk Resilience Programme (PRRP) E: email@example.com, P: (679) 3227 552, M: (679) 9936 744