The Asian Business Forum on Risk Reduction and Resilience Building, which was held on April 20-21, 2016, was organized by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM). The discussion focused on the joint project for strengthening the resilience of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Representatives of all four countries shared their experiences and the progress made.

While the private sector is the primary generator of wealth in the Asia-Pacific region, its profitability and growth are increasingly affected by both moderate hazards and major disasters. SMEs are particularly vulnerable to these risks due to their lack of investment in disaster risk management. With the aim of improving their understanding and management of disaster risks, the forum provided a platform to share and learn from the experiences of more than 200 participants from private enterprises, governments and development partners. The forum was further supported by the Global Disaster Preparedness Centre and the Asia Foundation.

During his opening speech, Mr. Peter Prügel, German Ambassador to Thailand, shared some of the challenges that German businesses have faced after the floods in Germany in the past few years. Mr. Stefan Helming, the Country Director of GIZ Thailand, elaborated on the opportunities and challenges in convincing the private sector to invest in disaster risk management and resilience. The GIDRM contributed to the forum with a technical session on Tourism Sector Resilience, introducing the Hotel Resilient Initiative, which aims to create standardized approaches and market value in the tourism sector by developing a multi-hazard risk management standard module for hotels and resorts.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Olaf Handloegten, Head of the Management Unit of the GIDRM, emphasised that “the risks for the private sector are not limited to single enterprises, sectors or industries. Instead, they can have serious consequences on entire economies and development gains.” He further noted that strengthening business resilience requires the cooperation of actors from the public and private sectors, academia and civil society to develop systematic solutions in accordance with the demands of the private sector.