8th Top Leaders Forum assessed the progress of public-private efforts in building climate and disaster resilient communities
Organized by SM Prime Holdings, Inc., in partnership with ARISE Philippines, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), and the National Resilience Council (NRC), this year’s Top Leaders Forum was held at the SMX Convention Center last November 12, and has brought together leaders from the national and local governments, the private sector, civil society organizations, and the academic/scientific community.
With the theme, “From Risk to Resilience: Forging Pathways and Milestones,” the annual conference discussed and took stock of the individual and joint initiatives of its members and partners towards the achievement of climate and disaster-resilient communities in the country.
The highlights of the forum were presented through three-panel discussions which were held separately and in succession.
The first panel discussion focused on the private sector engagement with the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Called “An Hour with the Champions,” it was moderated by Ms. Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, NRC’s president, and with panelists Benjie Yap of Unilever Phils., Ramoncito Fernandez of Maynilad, Aileen Judan-Jiao of IBM Phils., Cecile Ang of San Miguel Properties, Gisela Tiongson of Jollibee Group, and Maribeth Marasigan of Aboitiz Foundation.
The session discussed how big businesses can help the MSMEs in ensuring that they gain the same level of preparedness for disasters. SM Prime Holdings, for instance, works to boost the resilience of its business tenants by investing in a Resilience Center which serves as data storage and back-up facility for MSMEs and other affiliates. SM also houses and conducts capacity building trainings on Business Continuity Planning and operates a monitoring system for disasters.
Recognizing the power of the youth, the generation that will be impacted the most by climate change, multiple hazards, and rapidly changing exposure and vulnerability, the fourth highlight of the forum was the launch of the Young Leaders for Resilience Program (YLRP).
“The interconnectedness of the ecosystem to prioritize mainstream resilience and climate change adaptation is crucial for sustainable development. Let us all heed the call of resilience and do our share,” NRC co-chair Hans Sy said.
Mami Mizutori added, “While companies have much to lose, they also have a tremendous amount to offer. It is vital that we engage the private sector if we are to reduce disaster risk and ensure that our fast-growing cities are resilient. What is happening now in the Philippines under the excellent work of ARISE Philippines, the guidance and leadership of SM Prime Holdings and its honorable chairman, Mr. Hans Sy, is something that all countries should be doing.” Mizutori, who delivered the keynote message during the event, is the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG).
The forum’s other esteemed speakers include Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, House of Representatives Committee on Disaster Management Chairperson Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez, and Ms. Sandra Wu, Director of the United Nations Global Compact.
ARISE Philippines is a network of businesses committed to create risk-resilient societies through the distinct approach of private-public partnerships. The NRC is a science and technology-based public and private partnership that supports government, communities, and the private sector in advancing the New Urban Agenda. Both ARISE Philippines and the NRC align with the Sendai Framework for DRR, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Paris Climate Agreement.
To know more about ARISE Philippines, you may contact its secretariat through [email protected] or https://cc.preventionweb.net/arise/asia_pacific/arise_philippines. Follow ARISE Philippines on Facebook (@UNDRRARISEPH) for updates.
For more info about NRC, visit the NRC website at www.resiliencecouncil.ph or visit the NRC Facebook Page (@resiliencecouncil.ph).
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