Private and public sectors must collaborate to make business investments more disaster resilient. This was one of the key points highlighted in the recently-concluded Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, the world’s foremost gathering on reducing disaster risk and resiliency-building for communities and nations. The forum was organized by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) in Geneva, Switzerland.
With the theme “Resilience Dividend: Towards Sustainable and Inclusive Societies”, the forum enabled attendees, consisting of government heads, NGOs, scientists, practitioners, and other UN organizations, to share experiences and formulate strategies for the implementation of global disaster risk reduction agreements.
Hans Sy, SM Prime Holdings Executive Committee Chairman, joined the international forum as the only Filipino Global Board Member of the UNDRR ARISE Private Sector Alliance for Resilient Societies. In his remarks, Sy said, “As a major player in our country’s property sector, I have made it our advocacy to invest in risk-informed resilience. SM Prime shifted early on, from managing disasters, to managing risks.”
As one of the panelists during the high-level “Risk-Informed Public and Private Invest” dialogue, Sy focused on how the private sector has so far led global initiatives to make investments and businesses more resilient, as well as to prevent human and economic losses in times of major disasters. “In this day and age, whether for small, medium or large enterprises, risk resilience and disaster preparedness definitely make good business sense,” added Sy.
During the forum, Sy recognized the private sector as an increasingly important stakeholder in disaster risk management, and noted that large enterprises are a contributor to humanitarian action that provide vital expertise, skills, and resources, particularly in the area of disaster response and recovery.
Joining Sy in the panel were Dominican Republic Minister of Planning Isidoro Santana, Sandra Wu of the United Nations Global Compact, Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Sylvia Chalikosa, Minister, Office of the Vice President of Zambia.
For many years, SM and Sy have been leading disaster risk reduction efforts for the private sector in the Philippines in partnership with various organizations and government agencies.
Some of SM’s notable DRR initiatives include the additional elevation of the SM Mall of Asia complex, as protection against storm surges and flooding; SM City Marikina built on stilts, after considering the 100 year old flood cycle of the locale, to allow the natural flow of the Marikina River; SM City Masinag and 20 new SM Malls built with Rainwater Catchment to help minimize flood water; capacity-building and public-private partnerships with the national and local government units through ARISE Philippines and the National Resilience Council; and its recently-launched Business Continuity Program for its Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) mall tenants.
“SM Prime places crucial importance on risk-informed investments. It allows us to protect lives, serve communities better, increase our value, be an asset to the government, and of course to continue our business successfully,” Sy added.