UNFCCC COP23, Bonn, Germany – Business leaders, government officials, representatives from the United Nations and Pacific regional agencies gathered in Bonn for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23), showcased successful examples of new private sector networks in improving coordination of resilience and humanitarian activities in the Pacific region.
“Countries cannot afford not to engage the private sector in climate change and disaster response activities,” said Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, Head of Climate Change Adaptation at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the side event- Transforming Private Sector Engagement to Build Business and Community Resilience. “It is only through meaningful and sustained partnerships that we will deliver ambitious, measurable improvements in climate action,” he further added.
“Businesses are operating on the ground all year round. They are usually the first to respond in a disaster and the last to remain as part of the recovery efforts”, said Alisi Tuqa, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation.
“In many instances business operations are more efficient than traditional service delivery as the private sector puts a lot of emphasis to process design and innovation.”
On the other hand, it is also important to build private sector resilience. “I’m told that 75 percent of companies without Business Continuity Plans (BCP) fail within three years of a disaster,” stated Patrick Suckling, Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment. “After Cyclone Winston, it was learnt that not many households and SMEs had insurance which hindered their ability to bounce back.”
The Australian Government funded Connecting Business initiative (CBi) and the UNDP Pacific Risk Resilience Programme (PRRP) have supported the establishment of business resilience networks, many in the Pacific, to ensure that the private sector is part of all-of-society society approach to climate action.
“Establishment of the councils has resulted in a transformational change in the way the private sector engages in relation to climate change and disaster risk management,” said Leonard Chan, Vice-chair of the Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council. “The idea has gained significant traction within the private sector and businesses are now better prepared for this cyclone season,” he further stated.
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