Private sector toolkit supports business resilience in the region

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Development Objective 5 - Improve multi-sectoral responses to climate change and disasters

A disaster-ready toolkit developed by SPC in partnership with private sector is increasing resilience and leveraging partnerships for businesses in the Pacific region.

The Disaster Ready Toolkit (www.pipso.org.fj/stayopen) was led by SPC’s Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific project in partnership with the private sector and it has since led to the development of targeted training for private sector on how to use and develop their own business continuity plans.

Estimates show more than ¼ of businesses fail after disaster whilst 75% of businesses without business continuity plans fail within 3 years of major disasters1. In the Pacific, more than 80% of private sector consists of small-to-medium (SMEs) businesses and anecdotal research shows most SMEs do not have business continuity plans2. In 2016 Tropical Cyclone Winston cost Fiji FJD1.99bn in loss and damages. The cost to private sector accounted for 64% of these losses amounting to FJD 1.5bn3. In 2015, Cyclone Pam cost Vanuatu 64.1% loss of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) after the category 4 cyclone tore through the island nation4. The staggering cost that is worn by private sector means helping the sector become more resilient not only supports overall community resilience by keeping people in employment but ensures support for longer-term economic growth of the region more broadly.

The toolkit was launched in June 2017 after being presented at the United Nations Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Mexico this year. A working group was established and research on the cost and impact of disaster on private sector was undertaken by the SPC team during June-December 2016. In addition, exploratory workshops and a survey was conducted with more than 200 businesses to determine how they communicate in the region, what level of knowledge they already have about resilience, and if they had their own business continuity plans.

These anecdotal findings along with research on the cost and impact of disaster from existing loss and damage statistics available at SPC was collated and developed into 6 key information packages including infographic videos and factsheets along with a pacific focused business continuity template (BCP). The toolkit was then embedded into the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation’s website www.pipso.org.fj/stayopen resulting in sustainability of the tools and access by private sector to the toolkit broadly. SPC led the research, design and coordination of the toolkit.

As a result of increased understanding for disaster resilience within private sector the Fiji Business Disaster and Resilience Council, who is a leader in this area in the region, have since secured a country wide training grant to roll out business continuity planning for private sector across Fiji which the SPC team have been supporting. More than 30 business leaders have already been trained on how to use the toolkit targeting their supply chains to ensure increased resilience from the ground up, led by private sector.

Requests by National Disaster Management Teams in Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, and Solomon Islands to create a localised version of the tool have also been received with Chambers of Commerce from these countries also wanting to partner to create these tools at national level. Increasing partnerships in this area is critical for resilience in the region and Chair of the Fiji Business Disaster Council Ms Morika Hunter who launched the toolkit on behalf of all private sector partners in June said this is an innovative initiative that supports effective engagement with private and public sectors, critical for disaster risk resilience in the region. “Research shows a resilient private sector supports a resilient community so ensuring Pacific businesses are able to reduce the cost of disaster impact on their bottom line is critical to also ensuring communities are supported,” she said.

The SPC team has since been able to secure an additional FJD85k to complete a regional roll out of the toolkit with translation into vernacular and business continuity training planned for an additional three countries in 2018.

Disaster proofing Pacific businesses critical

24 June 2017

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Suva, Fiji – An innovative toolkit to protect Pacific businesses from failure after disaster has been launched today in Fiji after being developed by the Pacific Community, partners and the private sector.

The cost of disaster to the private sector in the Pacific region is staggering. In February 2016, Cyclone Winston caused FJD 1.9bn worth of damage to Fiji with approximately 64% of this cost worn by private sector.

The Pacific region has small economies and high vulnerability to disaster and this toolkit, developed in partnership with private sector is focused on helping reduce the cost of these disasters on the sector into the future. This includes looking at public private partnerships and increasing the expenditure of humanitarian aid in disaster affected countries, where possible.

Chair of the Fiji Business Disaster Council Ms Morika Hunter launched the toolkit on behalf of all private sector partners. She said this is an innovative initiative that supports effective engagement with private and public sectors, critical for disaster risk resilience in the region.

“Research shows a resilient private sector supports a resilient community so ensuring Pacific businesses are able to reduce the cost of disaster impact on their bottom line is critical to also ensuring communities are supported,” she said.

Pacific Community Deputy Director General, Dr. Audrey Aumua has commended the team for creating and committing to such a strategic project and said this work is critical in supporting disaster risk resilience across the entire region.

“We rely on the private sector with such a large number of small to medium enterprises in the Pacific and we know that disaster can prevent companies from reopening if they are not prepared. This work ensures businesses can actively engage in reducing the cost of disaster and ensure they are able to continue to operate and support communities in their area whilst supporting public and private partnerships in disaster resilience,” she said.

The toolkit is available online at www.pipso.org.fj/stayopen. The toolkit will be implemented across the private sector by the private sector team involved over the coming months and will be launched in the Pacific with the entire working team in the coming weeks.

The targeted work was developed in partnership with Pacific Community (SPC), the Fiji Business Disaster and Resilience Council (FBDRC), the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PiPSO), the Pacific United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) with support from the Wellington Region Emergency Management Council, the European Union and the ACP Group of States.

1. Civil Defence. Wellington Region Emergency Management Office. It’s Easy. Get prepared for an emergency. Prepared Business Edition.

2. 2017. Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation URL: www.pipso.org.fj

3. Fiji Government. (2016, May ). Post-Disaster Needs Assessment: Tropical Cyclone Winston. Retrieved February 24, 2017, from Relief Web International, http://bit.ly/2kSlhPH

4. Government of Vanuatu., (March, 2015). Post-Disaster Needs Assessment: Tropical Cyclone Pam retried from Pacific Disaster Net http://bit.ly/2mqPeCJ