Fiji Busi­ness Dis­as­ter Re­silience Coun­cil formed

Role to as­sist busi­nesses af­fected by dis­as­ter and strengthen pri­vate sec­tor en­gage­ment in a col­lec­tive re­sponse

Fiji Sun - - Sunbiz - MAIKA BOLATIKI Feed­back: maikab@fi­jisun.com.fj EDITED BY: RACHNA LAL

Fi­jian busi­nesses have for­mally joined forces with the Gov­ern­ment, the United Na­tion (UN) and civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions to es­tab­lish the Fiji Busi­ness Dis­as­ter Re­silience Coun­cil.

The role of the coun­cil is to as­sist busi­nesses af­fected by dis­as­ter and strengthen pri­vate sec­tor en­gage­ment in a col­lec­tive re­sponse. This was high­lighted by Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama at the World Hu­man­i­tar­ian Sum­mit Spe­cial Ses­sion on Con­nect­ing Busi­ness on Tues­day at Is­tan­bul, Turkey. “We are es­pe­cially look­ing to the pri­vate sec­tor to in­tro­duce new tech­nolo­gies to deal with cli­mate change,” he said. He said the Coun­cil was be­ing show­cased at this Sum­mit as part of the Con­nect­ing Busi­ness Ini­tia­tive ad he com­mended it to them as a model that could be repli­cated in any coun­try prone to nat­u­ral dis­as­ters. Ac­cord­ing to Mr Bain­i­marama, Gov­ern­ment’s can­not do ev­ery­thing, nor do they have a mo­nop­oly or wis­dom or ef­fi­ciency. “So the Fi­jian Gov­ern­ment re­gards its pri­vate sec­tor as a vi­tal part­ner in na­tional de­vel­op­ment,” he said. “Whether it is through the forg­ing of public-pri­vate part­ner­ships to run vi­tal in­fra­struc­ture such as its ports, or bring­ing the busi­ness com­mu­nity into the heart of de­ci­sion-mak­ing in some of our na­tional and re­gional or­gan­i­sa­tions.”

The pri­vate sec­tor, he said, was a vi­tal part­ner with Pa­cific gov­ern­ments in the Pa­cific Is­lands De­vel­op­ment Fo­rum - the or­gan­i­sa­tion they set up specif­i­cally to give the busi­ness com­mu­nity and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of civil so­ci­ety a voice in re­gional de­ci­sion-mak­ing. The au­then­tic voices of the grass roots in Pa­cific so­ci­ety that had been ex­cluded from our other re­gional body, the “gov­ern­ments only” Pa­cific Is­lands Fo­rum.

This was a sig­nif­i­cant par­tic­i­pa­tion by busi­ness in try­ing to ad­dress the root cause of the ex­treme weather events and other nat­u­ral dis­as­ters caused by cli­mate change.

Pri­vate sec­tor here

But in Fiji, Mr Bain­i­marama said par­tic­i­pa­tion went much fur­ther. “When Fiji was struck three months ago by Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Win­ston, the busi­ness com­mu­nity swung into ac­tion to as­sist in the re­lief and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ef­fort, pro­vid­ing Fi­jians with all man­ner of as­sis­tance at a time of des­per­ate need,” he said.

The Fiji In­sti­tu­tion of Engi­neers sent teams of in­spec­tors to as­sess the dam­age at the 229 schools that were struck by the 300 kilo­me­tre an hour winds.

And its de­tailed eval­u­a­tion of their needs has given us the pre­cise in­for­ma­tion re­quired to launch an “Adopt a School” pro­gramme to get our chil­dren back into proper class­rooms.

Fiji’s hard­ware com­pa­nies, he said, were part­ner­ing with the Gov­ern­ment in a na­tional “Help for Homes” pro­gramme to give Fi­jians the means to fix or re­build the 40,000 homes that were dam­aged or de­stroyed.

And at ev­ery turn, the pri­vate sec­tor was at the fore­front of the re­lief ef­fort, whether through do­na­tions in cash or in kind or as­sist­ing the au­thor­i­ties with lo­gis­tics.

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