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Combining business resilience with sustainable development during COVID-19

Combining business resilience with sustainable development during COVID-19

30 Sep 2020

Bangkok, Thailand


Participants discussing business resiliency and sustainable development amidst COVID-19

The Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) through its Asian Preparedness Partnership (APP) program hosted a webinar on 'Resilience in the Private Sector - Amplifying the Sustainable Development' to address the impact of COVID-19 and disasters on businesses.

A total 558 users and 390 unique online viewers attended the webinar focused on how resilience must be an inherent aspect of addressing the impact of COVID-19 and other disasters on businesses and society in order to amplify the growth and achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The webinar was organized by the APP Regional Technical Working Group on ‘Advancing the Private Sector Engagement in Disaster Risk Management’ and the iPrepare Business Facility of ADPC. It is the second in a series of webinars focusing on local and regional impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Ms. Pilar Pacheco, Senior Program Officer, Emergency Response at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, moderating the session.

Ms. Pilar Pacheco (Senior Program Officer, Emergency Response at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation moderated the discussion. She emphasized that the webinar would impart a better understanding of resilience in business practices and the benefits of its application.

“We wish [for the participants to] learn from the practical examples of how business practices can address the pandemic while building resilience against future disasters including other pandemics,” she said.


Ms. Ruth Castelo, Undersecretary for Consumer Protection at Department of Trade and Industry, Philippines, discussing customer protection.

Ms. Ruth Castelo, Undersecretary for Consumer Protection at Department of Trade and Industry, Philippines, discussed how the government has created an enabling environment for businesses to flourish amid and beyond the pandemic. She linked confidence as a tool for greater resilience.

“By strengthening consumer protection, we are likewise building consumer trust and confidence in businesses. We want to encourage everyone to start going out, spending, and being confident in their activities outside their homes so they can help the economy and businesses recover,” she added.

Mr. Kyaw Dewa, Joint Secretary General of Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry discussing economic recovery.

Mr. Kyaw Dewa, Joint Secretary General of Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), and APP Regional Technical Working Group Member in Myanmar, expounded on how the UMFCCI COVID-19 Task Force supports businesses. He commended the government’s efforts in guiding the private sector towards economic recovery.

“In order to recover from the ill effects of COVID-19 and achieve quick economic recovery, the UMFCCI has participated in the special national tripartite dialogue forum of the government, business owners, and workers,” he added.


Ms. Gayani de Alwis, Global Chairperson at Women in Logistics and Transport (WILAT), viewing COVID-19 from a gender perspective.

Ms. Gayani de Alwis, Global Chairperson at Women in Logistics and Transport (WILAT), Immediate Past Chairperson at Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Sri Lanka, Founding Chairperson & Advisor at WILAT Sri Lanka, and Board Member of Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka, elaborated that the motivation behind WILAT was the low participation and unfriendly attitude towards females in the logistics and transport sector.

She explained the formation of a global community to raise awareness regarding COVID-19, “We had experts from around the world and it started with those who had tackled the measures of the lockdown early on. They shed light on mentally preparing yourself and managing stress when working in confined spaces while managing your day to day operations. We managed our understanding to share best practices,” she said.


Prof. Kenji Watanabe, Principal Investigator, SATREPS, Area-Business Continuity Management, Project in Thailand.

Prof. Kenji Watanabe, Principal Investigator, SATREPS, Area-Business Continuity Management, Project in Thailand, and Professor at Graduate School of Social Engineering, Nagoya Institute of Technology in Japan, led the Regional Resilience Enhancement through Establishment of Area-BCM at Industry Complexes in Thailand.

The project seeks to improve coordination across the sector in the events of floods. Prof. Watanabe and his team devised a methodology to pursue such actions, “When we know a disaster is coming, we need some framework to coordinate among the stakeholders. Our project focused on protecting people and businesses from floods but it has to expand into other disasters such as COVID-19 and digital attacks,” he said.

A question & answer session with the panelists concluded the webinar. Overall, the webinar reiterated that understanding the primary risk and developing the capacity to adapt to any kind of disruptive event is essential in building the resilience of businesses.

Enabling policy support, gender considerations, partnerships with the government, and collaboration with all the concerned stakeholders including the communities are imperative to optimize resilient practices in the business sector.

Watch a video of the full webinar below: