Webinar participants speaking about COVID-19 and business resilience
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly reduced global economic activity, leaving an uncertain future ahead for many businesses and the communities they serve across Asia and the Pacific region. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which account for more than 90% of all businesses in most of the region, are especially the hardest hit.
Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) participated in a webinar on business resilience in the face of COVID-19 to share its experiences and lessons learned on the topic. The webinar is part of a series organized by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) – Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific to understand the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 in the region.
Mr. Aslam Perwaiz, Deputy Executive Director of ADPC, talking about ADPC's current operations under COVID-19
Mr. Aslam Perwaiz, Deputy Executive Director of ADPC, explained the pandemic’s impact on the organization’s ongoing work and partnerships. Mr. Perwaiz said that ADPC has recently launched a Business Resilience Toolkit with UNDRR and partners, and ADPC can directly engage with chambers of commerce across the region through its Asian Preparedness Partnership (APP) program to determine support for SMEs.
Mr. Perwaiz also mentioned that ADPC has over the last decade been focusing on resilience and capacity building for the private sector. He cited a project outcome of business continuity management training by ADPC’s iPrepare Business facility for Isuzu Motors Company Thailand (IMCT), where IMCT is now advising the Thai government for business resilience.
Based on the example, Mr. Perwaiz suggested that the pandemic is creating new opportunities for public-private partnerships in disaster risk reduction. “We have only looked at private sector from an angle of donations rather than as a very important partner for knowledge tools and technology. I think this is the right time,” he said.
Ms. Loretta Hieber Girardet, Chief of UNDRR Asia and the Pacific, moderating the session
Ms. Loretta Hieber Girardet, Chief of UNDRR Asia and the Pacific, moderated the discussion and shared an overview of COVID-19’s impact on different sectors. Ms. Girardet explained that according to the United Nations Regional Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific, overall GDP growth for the region is estimated to decline by 1% and many countries are introducing economic packages like disaster loans to help small businesses pay staff wages.
Other webinar speakers included Ms. Veronica Gabaldon, Executive Director of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) which is an APP country member, Mr. Atin Patel, General Manager of Exports Vinod Patel & Company in Fiji, Ms. Chiranthi Cooray, Chief Transformation Officer at Hatton National Bank PLC in Sri Lanka, Mr. Wade Bromley, Senior Specialist, Employers' Activities Decent Work Team for East and South-East Asia and the Pacific at International Labour Organization (ILO), and Mr. Masato Takamatsu, President of Tourism Resilience Japan.
Watch the full webinar here.