Companies design disaster risk reduction plans in Guatemala

Participants and facilitators of the workshop on plans for businesses tackling disaster risk reduction. Photo credit: CentrarRSE

By UNDRR The Americas

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala 7 April, 2017 – In order to safeguard means of production, ensure the continuity of operations and reduce the risk of human and material losses from natural hazards, Guatemalan business groups met for the first time to design business plans for disaster risk reduction within the framework of the “Public Private Partnerships to Confront Disaster Risk in Guatemala” project, funded by The European Commission Directorate-General Humanitarian Aid &Civil Protection  (ECHO).

Disaster risk is latent: the consequences can debilitate national economies, bankrupt companies and shut down factories for long periods of time or permanently, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs. The Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) 2015, points out that in the face of these millions of losses, the private sector must start with protecting its assets, in order to contribute to a more prosperous and resilient economy.

This issue in Guatemala (108,889 Km2, 16 million inhabitants) is of vital importance because according to the World Risk Index 2016, it ranks fourth in the world in terms of risk, while Central America is one of the regions most vulnerable to disasters globally and the most violent in the world without war.

In order to strengthen capacities to cope with the potential impact of disasters, managers and decision makers from companies from various sectors such as Ecotermo, Panifresh, Molinos Modernos, Mapreco, Grupo Terra, Hidroeléctrica las Vacas, Grupo ITSA, UNISUPER, CEMEX, Ingenio Pantaleón, Grupo Duwest, TIGO and the hotel chain of Westin Camino Real participated in this workshop held in Guatemala City on 28, 29 and 30 March, organized by CentraRSE and Action against Hunger, with the support of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

Karla Toledo Letona, Manager of Business Programmes and Projects of CentraRSE, called on the private sector of Guatemala to “join in on the implementation of measures to reduce exposure and vulnerabilities to the multiple natural, technological and health threats present in the national territory, thus achieving more resilient companies and businesses.”

Miguel Ángel García, Director of Action against Hunger in Guatemala, said that: “Natural disasters affect companies by disrupting their activities, which not only results in economic and employment loss, but temporarily deprives society of basic services provided by strategic private sectors such as telecommunications or food distribution. We need companies to join the culture of disaster risk management as a way of preserving both the viability of their businesses and that of small businesses associated with their supply chains, as well as the services and goods they provide to the entire country.”

The result of this day was a first version of disaster risk reduction plans, which participants will validate within their companies and which will be implemented with the support of the organizers over the next 20 months, including, among other activities, new workshops and drills to test these plans.

It should be noted that in fulfilling with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, adopted two years ago by UN Member States, more companies and organizations from various sectors are joining efforts to manage and reduce risk, Instead of responding only in emergency situations. This has generated an interest in the business sector in disaster preparedness as an essential factor for business sustainability and the sustainable development of communities and countries.

CentraRSE, Action Against Hunger and the Private Institute for Climate Change Investigation (ICC), form a consortium focused on strengthening Guatemala's resilience as part of the DIPECHO 2017-2018 project, supported by ECHO.

Related links:


Action Against Hunger


Índice de Riesgo 2016

GAR 2015






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