The 7th Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) on Advancing the Private Sector Engagement (PSE) in Disaster Risk Management (DRM) took place on 25 August 2021. The session included 34 participants from the Asian Preparedness Partnership (APP) country and regional teams, the RTWG-PSE members and representatives, and observers from Bangladesh and Lao PDR. The meeting provided updates on the pilot test of the e-learning course on scenario-based business continuity planning (BCP), present the ‘Study of the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Private Sector’ and the case study booklet that is being generated with it, and review the status and way forward for case study documentation. 

Mr. Edwin Salonga, Program Manager in the Philippines of Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) welcomed everyone to the meeting. He handed over the meeting to Mr. Kishore Pradhan, Vice President of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI), who would chair the meeting. He reiterated the objectives of the meeting and provided a current overview of the effects of the pandemic on local businesses in Nepal. Mr. Pradhan requested Ms. Shalini Kanwar, APP Program Lead, to provide opening remarks. She started by encouraging participants to register for the Prepared to Respond: COVID-19 Lessons for the Next Health Emergency. Ms. Kanwar highlighted the crucial role that the private sector plays in mitigating the impacts of climate change and prioritizing the case studies to illustrate the sector’s role.

Mr. Edwin Salonga (top left), Mr. Kishore Pradhan (top right), Ms. Shalini Kanwar (bottom left), and Mr. Kilian Murphy (bottom right).

The session continued with Mr. Salonga explaining the activities of the upcoming year; these comprised of a quarterly meeting of the working group, developing of case studies, an overview of the knowledge products such as the COVID-19 study and case study booklet, supporting the APP’s progress of the self-assessment tools from the pen and paper version to the web-based version, compiling an inventory of resources, organizing short online training courses or lectures, and sharing updated and reports at the APP Regional Steering Committee (APPRSC) meetings or other regional and international events.

In the Business of Knowledge 

Mr. Kilian Murphy, Program Lead – Thematic Innovations of APP, presented the updates of the scenario-based BCP. He indicated that 68 individuals had enrolled in the program and the APP Secretariat received feedback from 18 of the respondents. He continued his presentation with Mr. Shaikh Zaman, Knowledge Management Specialist of the Prepared for Response and Recovery (PRR) Department. They provide a summary of the ‘Study of the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Private Sector’ and the case study booklet that would accompany it in the coming month.

The study documents the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses of different scales in selected industries, including challenges and response actions. It consolidates relevant policies, measures, and other support provided by governments, partners, and businesses themselves to address the pandemic. The study also provides practical recommendations for enterprises, business associations, and governments for addressing the medium- and longer-term impacts of the pandemic and future disruptive events. Mr. Zaman explained how the case study booklet and future studies will be compiled and disseminated in the APP digital platforms. 

The meeting concluded with Mr. Salonga providing a review of the key actions and announced that Mr. Malik Sohail Hussain of the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) will chair the upcoming meeting on 24 November 2021.