Thanks for asking such an interesting question Roberto. Let me use as an example Chile, and particularly the earthquake occurred the 27th of February 2010.
Before this natural event, risk management in private corporations and government, was understood in Chile mainly in two ways: risk transfer and corrective disaster risk management (UNISDR, 2009). Chief Financial Officers where the key actors in transferring risk at a commercial and industrial level through the insurance market, primarily because risk was understood as financial loss and; on a more radical view, biased by the idea that disasters where unavoidable reflected in the use of the term natural disaster –disasters aren’t natural but socio-natural-. Strict constructive standards, influenced by the recurrent seismic activity in Chile, it’s still a stronghold of the way disaster risk is corrected in the country, setting an example that has raised the attention of other earthquake prone nations.
Unfortunately, disaster risk management based on these two pillars, proved insufficient to cope with an event such as the “27F earthquake”; as Chileans name it. Reasons for the former abound and somehow are diffused, I dare to presume this can be explained by the fact that risk management, besides financial risk management, hasn’t been treated in formal study programmes. We need globally, more Chief Risk Officers that can assume the responsibility of managing risks and have a proactive tendency towards accountability and transparency. For this purpose, it’s imperative to develop and implement formal studies to manage and raise awareness of risk management.
I’ve always believed you should lead by example. Under this premise, something that became evident after 27F, and hasn´t been tackled, is the lack of Business and Government Continuity Plans particularly in public owned companies. There´s a huge space for improvement in this topic, therefore I believe the government should act decidedly to adopt and implement BCP’s for their companies, leading by example on this critic issue.
Finally, the most important lesson to learn from this experience is the need for better public-private cooperation and synergy in risk management topics. There’s a lot of experience and resources –physical and intellectual- allocated on the private sector that, without doubt, could improve the way the government and vice-versa could reduce risk and vulnerabilities, hence the need to develop better institutional frameworks on DRR that consider accountability and transparency to be key actions when companies are requested to implement measures to manage risk.