By Andy McElroy
Geneva – The private sector will be crucial to the massive recovery effort in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the Philippines’ top chief executives said.
“A lot is expected from the private sector in the rehabilitation of calamity-stricken areas in the Philippines,” said Mr. Hans T. Sy, the President of SM Prime Holdings Inc, the country’s largest mall operator.
“We, from the private sector, are more than willing to help and are already doing our share in helping the communities. With the Typhoon Haiyan experience, as well as the Bohol earthquake, more businesses are convinced to invest in disaster resilience,” said Mr Sy, who is also a member of the UN Office for Risk Reduction’s (UNISDR) Private Sector Advisory Group.
“The Philippines is prone to natural hazards such as severe weather conditions and earthquakes. The more businesses invest in resilience, the sooner we can get back to normal after disasters.”
Mr Sy’s remarks precede a major forum in Manila on Friday 22 November titled ‘Incentives for resilient investment: Increasing private sector resilience through risk-informed business practices and investment’.
UNISDR Chief Ms Margareta Wahlström will also attend the event that will bring together 30 CEOs and 120 business people in the Philippines capital.
This year’s UN Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR13), produced by UNISDR, outlines the crucial role of the private sector in strengthening disaster risk management.
The Report, titled ‘From Shared Risk to Shared Value: The Business Case for Disaster Risk Reduction’ says: “How the private sector – accounting for 70 to 85 percent of total investment (globally) – decides to place its funds will largely determine how much disaster risk is accumulated and how underlying risk drivers are addressed.”
If past experience of disasters in the Philippines is any guide, the private sector is set to bear the majority of economic losses from Typhoon Haiyan. In 2009, 90 percent of the damage and losses from Tropical Storm Ketsana and Typhoon Parma fell on the private sector.
A comprehensive post disaster needs assessment conducted in the wake of these disasters estimated that losses were equivalent to 2.7 percent of Philippines’ annual GDP.
“The adverse impacts on the productive sectors were largely due to damaged or lost inventories, raw materials and crops,” the assessment said. “In addition, business operations were interrupted by power and water shortages, damaged machinery, and absent employees, which contributed to an overall reduction in production capacity.”
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