Excellent as it is to respond well after a disaster, the better way, if we can find strategies to facilitate it, is to reduce the risk of the disasters happening, or, at least, that of their impact. Options include the following:
- Risk mapping, spatial planning, constructions standards, preparedness planning and early warning systems are among the time-tested measures to prevent human and economic losses. The Hyogo Framework for Action, an internationally agreed roadmap for building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters, identifies a broad range of interventions that can save lives, protect assets and minimise disruption of supply chains. Further guidance targeted to specific private sector concerns is available at Preventionweb.net.
- There are specific areas of opportunities for companies to help reduce risk by engaging in the following areas:
- monitoring hazards and communicating risk (e.g. community warning systems)
- socio-physical strengthening (e.g. water management, land use and retrofitting)
- sharing financial risk (catastrophe bonds) and disaster preparedness (contingency plans and standby partnerships)
Information on these opportunities can be found in the report of the World Economic Forum: Building resilience to natural disasters – a framework for private sector engagement.