IOM Republic of Korea Hosts Seminar on the Private Sector Engagement and Innovation for Strengthened Disaster Preparedness and Response in the Asia-Pacific Region


Seoul, Republic of Korea – The scale and frequency of natural disasters has noticeably increased in recent years worldwide. The growing needs and challenges necessitate more extensive collaboration beyond the traditional boundary of disaster response and call for innovative approaches and solutions including the engagement of the private sector.

The role of the private sector is becoming a critical part of global efforts to reduce risks and enhance the effectiveness of interventions, by providing not only financial resources but also advanced technologies and technical expertise.

The Asia Pacific region, in particular, shows great potential for such collaboration. While being one of the most affected and vulnerable regions to climate hazards and natural disasters, it is also home to a thriving private sector which presents various untapped potential for innovative partnership across borders.

The Philippines has been chosen for this pilot initiative as the country not only faces multiple challenges but also demonstrates strong collaboration with the private sector in disaster risk reduction and response.

To further encourage participation of ROK private businesses in cross-border cooperation for disaster risk reduction, resilience-building, and emergency response through innovative solutions in the Asia Pacific region, IOM ROK hosted ‘Seminar on the Private Sector Engagement and Innovation for Strengthened Disaster Preparedness and Response in the Asia-Pacific Region’ on 29 April 2021.

Experts from UN agencies, an international think-tank, governments, and the private sector joined the seminar as speakers and gave a comprehensive overview of the private sector engagement in global development and humanitarian agenda as well as actual partnership examples.

“ IOM strongly believes in the power of private sector engagement and, as all UN agencies, plans to greatly expand relationships with the private sector. This collaboration has become more important given the ever-increasing number of people affected by humanitarian crises.” said IOM ROK Chief of Mission, Steve Hamilton. “The increasing involvement of business has transformed entire elements of humanitarian action, including cash transfers, telecommunications, and logistics. The continued growth of this involvement, at all stages, will help save lives and create a more sustainable future.” Hamilton added.

In the first session, Sha Song, Specialist, World Economic Forum Beijing started by introducing the global risks of 2021 and some examples of private-led innovative solutions including the trends in environmental, social, government (ESG).

Timothy Wilcox, Program Management Officer, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Regional Office for Asia Pacific, delivered a presentation on the key global agendas such as Sendai Framework, SDGs, Paris Agreement and Humanitarian Agenda and business participation in fostering these global efforts. Wilcox also introduced Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies (ARISE) initiative.

Byungil Jang, Chief Project Officer to Green Idea Lab and Joseph Intsiful, Senior Climate Information and Early Warning Systems Specialist to Green Climate Fund (GCF) presented an overview of global financing mechanisms for relevant sectors and furthered to funding opportunities and modalities for public-private partnership projects in disaster risk reduction and climate-resilience-building.

The last part of the seminar was showcasing private sector partnership and innovation examples in diverse angles from United States Agency for International Development (USAID); World Food Programme; IOM, Philippines Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) and Doosan Mobility Innovation.

The seminar was attended by 15 ROK private sector companies with disaster preparedness-related skills or an interest in the area.

Following the seminar, an online consultation and networking session was organized between selected ROK private sector participants and the PDRF and the Department of Social Welfare and Development from the Philippines - to exchange information and build up the base for future collaboration. Due to cross-border travel restrictions posed by the current pandemic situation, the event was delivered in a hybrid format of live videoconferencing and on-site gathering.

Since 2015, IOM ROK has been providing capacity-building support for ROK humanitarian actors with financial support from USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA). The seminar was organized as part of this capacity-building support program.

For more information, please contact Eunice Jieun KIM, IOM Republic of Korea Mission, Tel.: +82 70 4820 0291, Email: [email protected].

  • Photo: IOM

  • Photo: IOM

  • Photo: IOM