Forum aims to strengthen coordinated efforts to mitigate the impact of disasters on communities throughout Asia-Pacific.
CSR Asia and the Prudence Foundation, the community investment arm of Prudential in Asia, hosted the third Disaster Preparedness Forum in Hanoi on July 2 to address key issues around disaster preparedness, in particular how coordinated efforts between all sectors - business, humanitarian organizations, and government - can significantly reduce post-disaster recovery spending, damages, and losses.
More than 100 attendees from across the Asia Pacific gathered to explore how effective cross-sector partnerships can build community preparedness as well as create value for humanitarian organizations, governments, and companies.
The event drew on lessons learned from past disasters throughout the Asian region and knowledge of the changing humanitarian response system. This included the growing role of business in building preparedness and response capacities.
“It’s no longer about whether the business sector should play a role in building preparedness but about how to best collaborate with business,” said Mr. Richard Welford, Chairman of CSR Asia.
The most successful collaborations are those that effectively leverage each sector’s unique capabilities. For business this means contributing expertise, technology, networks, and its professionalism and innovation capacity. “Identifying these unique capabilities in a cross-sector partnership will allow each partner to bring in what they do best and drive commitment,” he said.
The vulnerability of the Asia-Pacific region to natural disasters has been highlighted again this year by the recent earthquake in Nepal, where tens of thousands of people were affected. The significant social and economic cost of disasters emphasizes the need to invest in disaster preparedness.
In Vietnam, every year, 2 million people are estimated to be affected by the frequent storms and typhoons that hit the country. In 2014 it was hit by more than ten storms and typhoons, which killed 133 people and caused an estimated VND2.83 trillion ($129.7 million) in damage.
“Protecting lives is central to everything we do at Prudential and disaster preparedness is a key pillar of our community investment initiatives,” said Mr. Marc Fancy, Executive Director of the Prudence Foundation. “We believe the long-term sustainability of disaster preparedness hinges on collaboration between businesses, governments, NGOs, and communities.”
In partnering with CSR Asia the Prudence Foundation hopes the Disaster Preparedness Forum will foster public-private dialogue and actions that will improve the resilience of communities and mitigate the impact of disasters.
In March the Prudence Foundation and Prudential Vietnam launched a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) project in Vietnam, in coordination with the Ministry of Education and Training and Save the Children, to support communities in the disaster-affected areas of Hai Phong city and Dien Bien and Tien Giang provinces. The three-year program, from 2015 to 2017, aims to increase the disaster preparedness of 6,000 vulnerable children and 30,000 members of the community.
The Disaster Preparedness Forum is an annual event hosted by CSR Asia and the Prudence Foundation and aims to advance cross-sector collaboration. This year’s Forum builds upon the success of previous gatherings in Jakarta and Manila.