SIDS’ small and open economies leave them especially exposed and highly vulnerable to external shocks. Given their small size, the expected annual average losses from earthquakes and tropical cyclone wind damage in SIDS represent respectively only 2 per cent and 1.4 per cent of the global total. However, precisely because they are small, 8 of the 10 countries that would lose the largest proportion of the value of their produced capital stock in a one-in-250 year earthquake are SIDS. In the case of a one-in-250 year cyclone, SIDS comprise 6 of the 10 countries most at risk.
If resilience building is to be successful in the years to come, it will require active and concerted partnerships between various actors including governments, private sector and local communities to reduce disaster risks. The private sector in SIDS plays a crucial role in working with governments, civil society, UN system and other partners both pre-disaster risk interventions and post-disaster recovery. This includes improving technology for early warning systems, mainstreaming DRR into important sectors such as agriculture and tourism and ensuring business continuity during and after a disaster. Education and awareness raising are crucial components for efforts in reducing disaster risk and in this regard the private sector plays an important role in outreach and disseminating information to the public.
Featured Partnerships from the 2014 Private Sector Partnerships Forum
Recognizing the importance of connectivity during times of natural disasters, in particular those affecting SIDS, Digicel announced that free access would be granted to its telecommunications towers in all SIDS where it operates for the installation of early warning system equipment. This will assist SIDS with building their capacity to respond effectively when natural hazards strike and to maintain vital communications.
ANZ Bank showcased its initiative on ensuring business continuity and to continue providing banking services during times of disasters in SIDS including through the construction of alternative banking facilities in less disaster prone locations.
Featured Partnerships from the 2014 Third International Conference on SIDS
Building Capacities for Increased Public Investment in Integrated Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction
Building capacities for increased public investment in integrated climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction is an initiative of UNISDR, supported by a variety of partners including the European Commission, Japan, UNDP, World Bank, JICA, among others, working with a number of SIDS across the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific to systematically account for disaster loss and to develop probabilistic estimations of future risk, with an emphasis in weather and climate change related hazards. Click here to learn more.
Digicel Pacific and UNISDR Pacific Partnership: Strengthening Businesses Resiliency & Disaster Preparedness
Digicel Pacific and UNISDR will promote the need and value of business resiliency in the Pacific by jointly engaging the private sector through advocating and showcasing disaster preparedness measures. Our aim is to provide opportunity for businesses to be empowered with knowledge and understanding of the inherent risks that SIDS face, to enable better decision making to best protect business assets, secure economic productivity and continue to provide livelihoods for workers. Click here to learn more.
Disaster Risk Management in the Islands of the Indian Ocean
The partnership focuses on strengthening the capacity of the islands of the Indian Ocean member of the Indian Ocean Commission and Zanzibar Island of the United Republic of Tanzania to reduce their vulnerability, exposure and protect the population of the region against loss and damage that result from catastrophic events. Recognising that Madagascar, the island of Reunion, an overseas department of France and Zanzibar are not considered as Small Island States, these islands are as vulnerable and are challenged with the same or similar climatic and natural disasters as the three small island States, Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles. Click here to learn more.
Pacific Disaster Risk Management Partnership Network (PDRMPN)
Building on the PDRMPN, the Pacific region is now in the process of designing a new coordinating mechanism to support the implementation of the new Strategy for Climate and Disaster Resilient Development in the Pacific (SRDP) which will be presented for approval by the Pacific Forum Leaders in August 2015. The new coordinating mechanism (to be called the Pacific Resilience Partnership- PRP) will replace and build on the existing networks and arrangements for DRM and climate change in the Pacific region. It will therefore build on the Pacific DRM Partnership Network (PDRMPN), on the Development Partners on Climate Change (DPCC), and other coordinating mechanisms for DRM and Climate Change in the region. It is expected that the PRP will officially start when the SRDP starts, on 1st January 2016, and it will be used as a mechanism for the implementation of the SRDP over its next 20 years of implementation. Click here to learn more.
Pacific Risk Resilience Programme: a partnership approach to risk governance in the Pacific
The Pacific Risk Resilience Programme (PRRP) is a large-scale risk governance programme in one of the most vulnerable regions to disasters and climate change in the world. The US$16.1 million Pacific Risk Reduction Programme (PRRP) is being delivered through a partnership between the Australian Government Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and international NGOs Live and Learn Environmental Education (LLEE) and the Mainstreaming of Rural Development Initiative (MORDI). The Programme is helping to build the national and regional risk governance enabling environment to improve the resilience of Pacific communities. Click here to learn more.
South-South Cooperation between Pacific and Caribbean SIDS on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management (DRM)
The rationale of this initiative is to enable the exchange of ideas, experiences and best practices between SIDS in the Pacific and the Caribbean, in order to find suitable solutions and replicate best practices for addressing the various threats posed by climate change and natural disasters.
The expected outcome is to strengthen safety and resilience of Pacific and Caribbean SIDS’ communities to a range of natural hazards by facilitating and supporting a South-South cooperation programme targeted at strengthening climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction capacity in SIDS, based on the transfer of appropriate ‘southern’ expertise and technologies. Click here to learn more.
 UNISDR (2013) From Shared Risk to Shared Value – The Business Case for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Featured Photo Credit: Logan Abassi/UN Photo