A fruitful partnership between the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF) Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council (FBDRC), Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization (PIPSO) and the United States Government through USAID Climate Ready, has led to 20 individuals from the Northern Division gaining valuable skills in disaster risk resilience. The two day training was held at Takia Hotel in Labasa. The trainings covered business continuity planning and business disaster proofing to participants which ranged from representatives from Government departments, local Non- Governmental Organizations, private sector and local businesses.
Hazel Kirkham the trainer for the workshop said “there is a lot of talk about business resilience and planning for disasters. The establishment of the Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council (FBDRC) under FCEF has given a platform for the private sectors role in responding to disasters but also highlighting the need for businesses to be given the skills and knowledge to develop their own disaster plans”.
She further added that the training brings together what the council and FCEF wants to achieve with Fiji businesses on the disaster ready business toolkit. The toolkit has been produced for the whole Pacific Islands by partnership of organizations and is being promoted by the PIPSO in its “Stay Open for Business” campaign.
FBDRC Vice –Chair Leonard Chan said that during a recent survey it was found that 1 in four businesses do not survive after a disaster. “The FBDRC was formed after the devastating effects of Tropical Cyclone Winston. The impact of the TC Winston not only left its mark on the community but also the small and medium size businesses locally”. He added that the council hoped through this workshop they hoped to build resilience of the local businesses as they are the major contributors to the local economy and strengthen their Business Continuity Plan.
The training provides Business Continuity Plan (BCP) training to its members by first training trainers in BCP from within the private sector, who will then train others within their company, supply chain, sector, and more generally. As opposed to a one-off training session, the training of trainers will ensure sustainability of the program and capture a larger number of Small and medium-sized enterprises and will be of interest to large business operators to ensure the continuity of their supply chains. The training covered BCP, the role of first responders, and understanding weather patterns and climate change. Following the training program, which will also be implemented in Suva later next month, participants will be certified to mentor other businesses and private sector organizations across the country. The training was sponsored by United States Government, through USAID Climate Ready.