Developing skills in disaster risk management for sustainable development, say speakers at symposium


| Updated:
May 19, 2022 4:37:00 p.m.

Speakers on a program on Tuesday urged the government to improve disaster risk management (DRM) capacities and skills for sustainable economic development.

They also suggested offering tax incentives and benefits to companies that come forward to contribute to government DRM initiatives.

Views were expressed at a national symposium on “Private Sector Participation and Leadership in Disaster Risk Management” and the launch of the first-ever “Private Sector Emergency Operations Center (PEOC )”.

The event was organized under the SUPER project jointly launched by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), ActionAid Bangladesh (AAB), United Purpose and World Vision.

Minister of State for Disaster Management and Relief Dr. Md Enamur Rahman addressed the program as the chief guest, while Philippine Ambassador to Bangladesh Alan L Deniega and the Head of the European Office for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) in Dhaka, Anna Orlandini, spoke as guests of honour. .

DCCI President Rizwan Rahman gave a welcome speech at the one-day event while AAB National Director Farah Kabir gave the closing speech.

The State Minister, in his speech, said that although Bangladesh is a successful model in disaster management, the country still needs to improve its disaster risk management skills for sustainable economic development.

He said it is generally the duty of government to carry out proper disaster management to reduce risk; therefore, the engagement of the private sector is very important.

He said that the very first PEOC in South Asia has been established in the premises of DCCI and that it will strengthen the skills of the private sector in this field.

Mr. Enamur also noted that the ministry has launched a state-of-the-art National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) that will help create databases and provide the required assistance.

In his welcome address, DCCI President Rizwan Rahman said that natural disasters can have a significant impact not only on people and the environment, but also on the private sector.

Any disaster hampers the supply chain, production and overall marketing of all businesses, he said, adding that disaster risk has far-reaching consequences due to natural events such as earthquakes, fires and chemical explosions that seriously damage business sustainability.

He also said that Bangladesh had recently adopted several policies to reduce disaster risk and initiatives were now needed to prioritize disaster management in the private sector.

Referring to the establishment of the first-ever PEOC at the Dhaka Chamber premises, he called for a focus on proven and institutional financing techniques to mitigate disaster risk and its impact on businesses.

He said the government can guarantee debt instruments – bonds, grants and transfers, PPP-based financing, securitization, blended finance and low-cost bank borrowing under a refinancing program to transfer the massive risks of companies concerned.

Mr. Rahman also said, “Private sector engagement in disaster risk management can play a critical role in realizing our long-cherished economic vision.

In this regard, relevant authorities can grant tax incentives or benefits to companies that invest on their own in emergency response initiatives, he added.

Philippine Ambassador Alan L Deniega said his country allocates around 5.0% of its total budget to disaster risk management due to the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters.

He said his country established the world’s first private sector emergency operations center in 2018.

He also said that for improved capacity in disaster risk management, the public and private sectors should come forward to work together.

ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir said the private sector must play the dominant role in disaster risk management for the sake of development and sustainability.

She also said there should be an integrated risk analysis system under the supervision of a public-private partnership.

After the inaugural session, three parallel sessions titled “Risk Financing Strategy”, “Artificial Intelligence Based Solution for Hazard Anticipation” and “Role of Private Sector Working Group and Response Team the private sector to make the PEOC functional” were organised.

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