Panelists discuss current trends, policies and applications to integrate DRR approaches into private sector CSR strategies during a policy dialogue at the Forum on Public-Private Partnerships for Flood Risk Reduction. Left to right: Mr. Teerasak Padoongtantrakul (The Federation of Thai Industries), Dr. Peeranan Towashiraporn (ADPC), Mr.Chotnarin Kerdsom (DDPM), Dr. Soontorn Koonchaimang (Rangsit University), Dr. Ammarin Daranpob ( Loxley Public Co., Ltd), and Mr. Monai Yenboot (True 24 TV channel)
The final component of the “Reduction of Vulnerability to Floods in Thailand” program funded by USAID-OFDA was successfully completed with a Forum on Public-Private Partnership for flood risk reduction, held in in Bangkok, Thailand.
The forum focused on the need to build an effective ‘business case’ for the private sector to engage in efforts for strengthened disaster resilience in Thailand, particularly the pertinent challenge of flooding.
The forum provided participants with an insight into the importance of effective partnerships for achieving enhanced community disaster resilience with various case studies and good practices of local government and private sector collaboration on disaster risk reduction.
The platform brought together more than 90 participants from different stakeholders including the public sector, private sector, and communities to discuss Public-Private Partnerships in disaster risk reduction (DRR).
During his opening remarks, Dr. Krasae Chanawongse, Chairman of ADPC, encouraged participants to communally work together on DRR.
“We have been working together in climate change adaption, public health improvement, working towards achieving the sustainable development goals, and we definitely can do something similar in terms of disaster risk reduction initiatives,” stated Dr. Chanawongse.
Prof. Dr. Krasae Chanawongse, Chair of ADPC Board of Foundation, addressing the participants during the Forum on Public-Private Partnerships for Flood Risk Reduction in Bangkok, Thailand.
The importance of public-private partnerships
Mr. Aslam Perwaiz, team leader of iPrepare Business at ADPC, highlighted the impact that frequent disasters have on the private sector in Thailand during his session. He cited examples from both large corporate organizations as well as Small and Medium Enterprises (SME).
He underlined that the private sector already has experience engaging in disaster risk management, but mostly during the post- disaster phase with a focus on response and recovery. Therefore, he raised the point that partnerships between the public and private sectors should aim to create more sustainable approaches to proactive disaster risk reduction measures for addressing the underlying causes of disaster events.
“The most important question is how society and businesses work together to create a difference," said Mr. Perwaiz.
Business resilience and policy
The policy dialogue session in the morning focused on policies for engaging the private sector in DRR. Panelists agreed that the biggest challenge in this field concerned data collection and information circulation. Based on the experience of the panelists, the public and private sectors have yet to establish effective mechanisms for sharing information regarding disaster events. A common platform for information sharing was therefore identified as a means for
both sides to work together more effectively. Additionally, incentives provided by the public sector were highlighted as an important means of encouraging private sector engagement in DRR.
Mr. Aslam Perwaiz, team leader of iPrepare Business at ADPC, presents a business case for public-private partnership to strengthen flood resilience
Multi-stakeholder collaboration in DRR
The afternoon session focused on ‘multi-stakeholder collaboration in DRR’ by showcasing lessons learned in ongoing partnerships for community disaster resilience across Thailand. A notable success story is the cooperation between businesses at Hi-tech Industrial Estate and the Provincial Office of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) for Ayutthaya.
In this case the need to address the ‘shared risk’ posed by frequent flooding was the driver for different actors in the area to work together.
“In Ayutthaya, flood is a shared risk. It drives us to enthusiastically work together with the government agency,” stated Mr. Tinnakorn Pongyart, Representative, Hi- tech Industrial Estate, Ayutthaya Province.
“Now, we are improving our information systems so that we are able to share more updated information with the private enterprises in the area and collectively prepare for response as well as integrated DRR,” shared Mrs. Paveena Thongsakulpan, DDPM Provincial Office for Ayutthaya Province.
Community voices for resilience
The last session of the forum provided a platform for community voices on building resilience to disasters. Representatives from various locations across the country were able to recount their experiences of working at the local level to enhance resilience to flooding and other hazards through approaches such as community based disaster risk reduction (CBDRR).
The input by community members revealed the key theme of the need to establish strong networks and partnerships between local people, and local governments as well as businesses in the area to fully address the needs of the whole community. The importance of integrating local knowledge in current DRR practices was also highlighted through the experiences shared by the respective panelists.
“We work together as a network because many people have been affected by floods. We share lessons learned, practices done and keep information updated among our partners,” said Mrs. Peechaya Kaeowkao from Songkla Province, Southern Thailand.