|Cities At Risk - Making Cities Safer ... Before Disaster Strikes (IDNDR-DIRDN, 1996)|
|Part Two: What Is Being Done?|
Worldwide, the private sector is becoming increasingly involved in urban disaster management. Disaster response generally has been the entry point. In some countries, however, NGOs, private firms, business foundations and associations are now beginning to take steps to protect their own assets, and to initiate preventive measures in the community.
The Philippines provide an example of the evolving role of the private sector in urban disaster management. Philippine NGOs number in the thousands, and are a dynamic local force in disaster and development issues. Since the end of the Marcos regime in 1986, NGOs have evolved rapidly in their managerial and networking skills. New roles for Philippine NGOs in development activities were set out in the 1987 national constitution, and further emphasized in the 1991 Local Government Code.
Because frequent natural hazards make the Philippines one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, NGOs and private companies have been deeply involved in disaster relief in the 1990s. They are now moving to incorporate mitigation measures in their activities.
Involvement in disaster issues for some private sector partners came after the 1990 earthquake of Baguio City and the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo a year later. Some members of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), established 20 years earlier to address local development issues through NGO-business partner ships, created the Corporate Network for Disaster Response (CNDR). These organizations realized that their development work was being disrupted and resources were being diverted to disaster relief. New approaches were needed to address links between disasters and development. Since 1992, CNDR has worked in relief and recovery programmes for the Mount Pinatubo eruption, Typhoon Ruping, Typhoon Ormoc, Mount Mayon lahar flows, and other disasters.
PBSP is part of another successful private sector partnership, the Inter-Agency Network for Disaster Response. In addition to PBSP, the group includes the Philippine National Red Cross, Adventist Development and Relief Agency, the Citizens for Disaster Rehabilitation Network, the Council for People's Development, Catholic Relief Services, the Luzon Secretariat for Social Action, the Philippine National Council of Churches and the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement. These networks work closely with the government, particularly through representation on the Social Reform Council, a cabinet-level body that reinforces government and non-government partnerships on disaster management issues.
The tragedy and urgency of disasters often inspire heroic efforts during the disaster response phase, and have brought groups together in the Philippines that otherwise may have been working in parallel. In a typical and understandable pattern, these groups initially focused on disaster response coordination. They have since extended their cooperation to areas of rehabilitation, and then to training and preparedness activities for future disasters. They are now beginning to consider coordination of prevention and mitigation measures.
Private sector organizations involved in disaster management in the Philippines
Environmentalists, psychologists, land-use planners, construction workers, computer specialists, cartographers... the list of professional skills needed to protect cities from disasters is long and varied. So, too, are the types of organizations that can contribute to this process. In the Philippines, the Inter-Agency Network for Disaster Response (IANDR) has identified several types of private sector organizations which have a role in disasters - whether, before, during or after. IANDR is now analyzing their institutional mandates, to better determine their roles. IANDR plans to use the list to coordinate activities in various phases of disaster management.
· Development NGOs
"NGOs need not crowd the relief begging bowl," notes Marcia Feria Miranda, a Filipina expert on partnership development. "There is room for all, and not only when disaster strikes." Explaining the evolution of partnerships for disasters and development in the Philippines, she told participants at the 1994 World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction: "There are no partnerships -- particularly in prevention, mitigation or preparedness -- that can be looked on as a model of intersectoral coordination and efficient use of resources. What exists are the basic building blocks needed for partnership among NGOs, nationally and at the provincial level; in the corporate sector, and among governments and donors."
Sources: "Multi-Agency Response to Storm: the Philippine Experience," Juan Blenn Huelgas, National Coordinator, Inter-Agency Network for Disaster Response and Sectoral Representative, Social Reform Council, Office of the President. Proceedings, conference presentation, and interview at 2nd International Conference for Local Authorities Confronting Disasters and Emergencies, 22-24 April 1996.
Marcia Feria Miranda, "Building Bayanihan -- The partnership role of NGOs in a new disaster management paradigm," in "From Disaster Management to Sustainable Development: How the public sector, private sector and NGOs work together," World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction proceedings (Main Committee Session 1), World Health Organization, 1994.