The Island nation of Grenada is now the eighth country in the Caribbean to join ARISE, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s (UNDRR) Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies. In the Caribbean, global warming has increased the chance of devastating hazards and prompted the need for improved disaster risk reduction.
The Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GCIC) expressed that strengthening Grenada’s Private Sector is key to building a more resilient society, better prepared to face disasters. The hope is that by joining the network, Grenada will be able to strengthen capacity and better utilize resources to implement disaster risk reduction (DRR) policies.
Emmanuel Duncan, President of the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce, says “Creating a local ARISE network will help companies make risk-informed business investments and better factor risk into regulatory and institutional frameworks.” Duncan continued by stating “The Grenada Private Sector will have the knowledge and tools to reduce disaster risk and strengthen resilience through increased response prevention and recovery.”
The ARISE initiative is designed to build risk-resilient partnerships between stakeholders and the private and public sectors to meet the targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. The Sendai Framework emphasizes the role of the Private Sector in applying business strategies that reduce and prevent risk creation and support recovery from disasters. This will ensure that the communities in which they operate are more economically, socially, and culturally resilient.
This year has been particularly difficult for the Caribbean’s private sector. Alongside the annual hurricane season, it has also had to confront the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses have been hard hit and many companies are now trying to rebuild their customer bases, supply chains and distribution networks. On the flip side, the crisis has provided an opportunity for the Private Sector to reevaluate its resilience. It has also been a chance to revise National and local disaster risk reduction strategies.
The Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce has committed to broadening the ARISE network membership in Grenada, educating stakeholders about disaster risk reduction and collaborating with them to create a more disaster-resilient Private Sector. The new ARISE network could have a “positive impact” on the private sector in Grenada, says Lizra Fabien, Executive Director of the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce. It will allow the local business community to tap into international best practices to help improve their own resilience, says Fabien, who previously chaired the Network of Caribbean Chambers of Commerce, of which the GCIC is a member.
Raúl Salazar, chief of the UNDRR’s Regional Office for The Americas and the Caribbean, highlighted the importance of developing private sector alliances and networks to help give the region the structure and the knowledge it needs to move forward. “DRR is a mechanism to promote sustainability, productivity, innovation and growth. It goes far beyond having a damage and loss insurance,” said Salazar.
UNDRR´s activities for private sector engagement through ARISE have been supported by USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance (USAID BHA).