The sixth meeting of the Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) on Advancing Private Sector Engagement (PSE) in Disaster Risk Management (DRM) took place virtually on 27 May 2021. It served as a venue to provide updates on the working group’s activities for the upcoming year, conduct a walkthrough of the e-learning course on scenario-based business continuity planning (BCP), and discuss the plan to pilot and disseminate the e-learning course. 

Ms. Mio Kato, Facility Manager of iPrepare Business, welcomed the participants that included observers from Bangladesh and Lao PDR. She handed the meeting over to Mr. Sok Dara, the Vice President of the Federation of Associations for Small and Medium Enterprises of Cambodia (FASMEC), who chaired the session. He presented the objectives of the meeting and requested Ms. Shalini Kanwar, Program Lead for the Asian Preparedness Partnership (APP), for opening remarks. She encouraged a more interactive session through feedback and questions regarding the topics being discussed. Ms. Kanwar further stressed the importance of pilot testing of an e-learning course and the development of case studies in APP countries. 

Ms. Mio Kato (top), Mr. Sok Phoeuk (botton left), Mr. Killian Murphy (bottom center), and Mr. Sok Dara (bottom right)

In providing updates and an overview of the RTWG-PSE activities for 2021, Ms. Kato presented the revised work plan and the key activities for the year. Such activities included: convening meetings based on the suggested thematic topics; finalizing the study conducted on the impact of COVID-19 on the private sector in the Asia-Pacific region; further developing an e-learning course on BCP through pilot testing and feedback from the members; developing an inventory of resources under the APP initiative and other programs related to PSE; organizing short training courses on selected topics; publishing case studies on the private sector’s response to COVID-19 or DRM; sharing reports, updates, and knowledge products at the APP Regional Steering Committee (APPRSC) meeting and other platforms; and utilizing online information sharing and exchange platforms on private sector-related activities in APP countries. Additionally, the members were requested to review the regional guidelines and tools developed under the APP regional program as they will play an integral part in the rollout. 

Mr. Kilian Murphy, Thematic Innovations Manager for the Preparedness for Response and Resilient Recovery (PRR) Department, provided an overview of the e-learning course on BCP. He explained that it was designed to promote awareness and knowledge of business continuity as part of overall efforts for building business resilience. He informed the members of the registration process and the main features of the e-learning course such as the contents, case studies, and video lectures. Mr. Murphy’s presentation was followed by Mr. Sok Phoeuk, Program Manager of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, who conducted a poll to gain the perspective of the RTWG-PSE members in regards to the e-learning course. He stated that the insights of the members would be taken into consideration in finalizing the mechanics of the pilot test of the e-learning course. 

The final session on case study documentation was facilitated by Mr. Shaikh Zaman, Integrated Knowledge Management Officer for PRR. He expounded on the process of collecting information through the case study template and subsequent process with the support of the communications focal points from APP countries. The meeting concluded with Mr. Dara thanking everyone for their participation, expressing his appreciation for the participants, and looking forward to a productive year ahead.