UNISDR launches ARISE: the Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies

Published: Monday, 09 November 2015 14:24

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies (ARISE) was launched on the 6th November. ARISE’s elected board co-chair Mr. Oz Ozturk said its members – 100 to date, and growing - aimed to play a key role in implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, a wide-ranging, 15-year agreement adopted by the international community in March this year.

ARISE’s two-day founding meeting, which began on Thursday 5th November, drew dozens of delegates from companies, industry and business bodies, and research organizations from across the world. The alliance plans to set up regional and national chapters in order to drive action on the ground.

ARISE combines and consolidates two previous UNISDR programmes: the Private Sector Partnership, which was the main advocacy group highlighting solutions for resilience and disaster risk-sensitive investment, and the R!SE initiative, mainly oriented towards projects on making investment more resilient.

The Sendai Framework has seven targets. The first four hinge on substantial reductions in global disaster mortality, the number of people affected, economic losses, and damage to critical infrastructure. The remaining three seek an increase in the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020, strengthened international cooperation for developing countries, and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments.

“These targets are not individual, standalone targets,” said Ms. Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and head of UNISDR, who chairs ARISE.

“Everything you do in one area will contribute to the other targets. They are all absolutely interdependent,” she told the ARISE delegates. “We delivered Sendai, and now it’s the beginning of the next step.”

She called for a concerted effort to expand ARISE’s membership to bring in industries that are not currently part of it, notably oil, banking, telecommunications and the private media.

UNISDR has been developing its ties with the private sector apace over the past five years, in line with the lead given by the wider United Nations, which in 2000 set up the Global Compact to encourage sustainable and socially responsible policies by grouping businesses that meet certain criteria in those areas.

The Sendai Framework focuses strongly on ensuring action by governments, local authorities and a range of players in communities. The latter include businesses, whose resilience is critical when it comes to limiting the impact of hazards, whether they provide a small-scale employment or are multinationals whose disrupted supply chains can cause global issues.

ARISE aims to facilitate exchange of experience and knowledge on how to implement projects in seven areas: disaster risk management strategies, investment metrics, benchmarking and standards, education and training, legal and regulatory, urban risk reduction and resilience, and insurance.