Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Asia's top business leaders establish key disaster reduction partnership

Brigitte Leoni in the UNISDR News Archive: Some of Asia's most influential business leaders today agreed to adopt Business Continuity Management (BCM) as a first step towards safeguarding their businesses against disasters.  Some 30 CEOs and top managers based in the Philippines and Asia who gathered today in Manila in the Philippines also established the first regional Asian Private Sector Partnership on Risk Reduction.

The experience of the AXA insurance group, PricewaterhouseCoopers and many other corporations in the region set the tone for discussions and decisions today as did the reality that businesses are at increasing risk of disasters in Asia. Last year floods, typhoons and earthquakes caused more than 274 billion US$ of economic losses in Asia alone.

"As we grow in business we should not lose focus on earning respect from our communities. We can do it by strengthening disaster resilience. Your role may not be immediately recognized by communities but you can be sure of their gratitude and appreciation when disasters strike" said Hans Sy, President of SM Prime Holdings who convened the Top leader forum together with the UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

..."BCM is a great way for businesses to demonstrate that they are robust as well as safe and to reassure their shareholders and partners", said James Crask, a senior manager at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, who made a full simulation to the SM staff in the afternoon.  "But BCM needs to be of good quality, understood by staff, supported by board management, financially sustained and delivered as part of the organization general approach to risk," Crask stressed.

..."It's obvious that today any supply chain depends on another one and collaboration between corporations at national, regional and global levels is key to minimizing disaster losses. You don't have to be close to a hazard to be affected by a disaster," said Jerry Velasquez, UNISDR regional coordinator for the UNISDR Asia Pacific Office. "This is why it's important to build alliances and partnerships to considerably reduce global disaster losses as they continue to rise," he added....

Flooded bridge on west side of Prapa canal, just outside Bangkok border, October 31, 2011. (VOA)

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