The fourth virtual meeting of the Regional Technical Working Group on Advancing the Private Sector Engagement in Disaster Risk Management (RTWG-PSE) took place on November 25, 2020. It sought to discuss case studies including those related to COVID-19 for knowledge management and exchange, share recommendations as the group enters 2021, and tackle the preparatory arrangements for the meeting of the Asian Preparedness Partnership Regional Steering Committee Meeting (APPRSC).

Mio Kato, Manager for the iPrepare Business Facility, welcomed the participants and expressed her gratitude for their active participation which allowed for the organization of the webinar ‘Resilience in the Private Sector: Amplifying the Sustainable Development on September 23, 2020. As the chair of the meeting, Mr. Chandrarathna D Vithanage, the Senior Assistant Secretary-General of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), Sri Lanka, introduced the new members, encouraged sharing experiences on this platform, and provided regional updates and upcoming activities. 

Mr. Kyaw Dewa, Joint Secretary General, Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) presented the chamber’s training on business continuity planning (BCP) toolkit. He explained that the toolkit seeks to strengthen the preparedness and resilience of local businesses. The UMFCCI has conducted four training events on the toolkit with a total of 115 participants. 

Ms. Chandrinka K of Janathakshan GTE Ltd then reported on enhancing the disaster resilience of micro-small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through capacity building on business continuity management (BCM). She elaborated on the importance of MSMEs on a national level and how disasters including the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted them. Ms. Chandrinka highlighted the interventions of the Sri Lank Preparedness Partnership for the contextualization of the BCM curriculum, conducting the training of trainers (ToT), and developing a series of training programs to provide support to MSMEs affected by the pandemic. 

Ms. Abigail C. Guiang, Business Continuity Program Officer for the Philippines Disaster Resilience Foundation, provided her perspective on the case studies presented. She stressed the importance of business continuity planning and management and how it enables businesses to continue and bounce forward better. 

As the group needs to strategize the way to going forward in 2021, a survey was conducted. Presenting the results, Ms. Kato reported that the participants prioritized case study development, thematic discussion, short online training programs, updates among members, and webinars. They wanted to focus on topics that included support to MSME for disaster resilience, business continuity, and joint contingency planning. Topics for webinars included risk assessment, business continuity and area business continuity management, and support to MSMEs. Ms. Kato concluded the meeting with good wishes for the new year and progressing the discussion of private-sector related activities.