Resilient/City had the honor to be invited to a working breakfast with SRSG Robert Glasser, Director of UNISDR, and his talented staff (Raul Salazar, Humberto Jaime and Kiki Lawal) to discuss private sectors inputs in resilience and risk reduction.
On this final day of the United Nations Fifth Regional Platform in Montréal, participants and speakers have been focusing more and more on the importance of integrating the private sector in understanding risk as it pertains to SMEs, large corporations and local business markets. The Sendai Framework for Action is a key guide in this process.
Municipal or national governments alone don’t carry the economic asset losses generated by natural and man-made disasters. Rather, it is businesses of all sizes that suffer. The cascade effects in labor markets, tributary businesses, infrastructure and supply chains exacerbate loss, which make it even more difficult to ascertain actual loss figures. Hence, new partnerships between government and the private sector can open up new opportunities to make resilience efforts more inclusive in addressing risk.
Lessons-learned are key. For example, last year’s forest fires in Fort McMurray, Canada resulted in the largest insurance loss in the country’s history. However, the private sector was better positioned to resiliently recover from the fires because of prior experience of losses due to natural disasters.
Resilient/City shared some of our experiences of how economic losses manifest in Mexico. Isaac Preciado, Resilient/City co-founder and chief of operations in Latin America, applied aspects of our RES/MAP evaluation tool to assess resilience at the micro-level in four neglected recreational spaces in Zapopan, part of the Metropolitan Zone of Guadalajara (ZMG). The results were sobering: with annual rains and flash floods intensifying, these once-green spaces have lost their adaptability to the changing climate. Underlying risk drivers like poverty and poor infrastructure in these neighborhoods further complicate matters. Therefore, local businesses bear the brunt of increased loss of recovery efforts, which negatively affects local wages. The cycle of vulnerability therefore continues unbroken.
Currently, we are working on project funding to strategically place “resilient park spaces” in these neglected areas in Zapopan. By drawing on micro-level qualitative analysis, Resilient/City was able to understand what it is about hydrometeological hazards that drive risk and increase economic losses. The design of our intended parks would increase water absorption and mitigate flood damage through green infrastructure, flood basins and rain gardens, as well as enhance air quality through CO2 reduction, thereby reducing the number of lost business days of local formal and informal businesses.