The benefits of urban resilience are becoming well-known to city governments and the international community. But it has also attracted the attention of the private sector. Disasters have an effect on the global market, as Eva Perez (Directora del Centro de Cambio Climático, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) bluntly puts it:
Climate change will impact the private sector; it will also end up in their back yard, affect their consumer market, business activities, supply and distribution chains, and might change the value of their assets. The private sector must understand that not investing in adaptation and urban resilience will be an expensive experience in the long run.
As a representative of the private sector, Fleur Rüter (Portfolio Manager Hospital, Dräger Medical GmbH), who is an expert in protective and life-saving equipment, said that she was surprised by the lack of communication and knowledge exchange between disaster and emergency institutions. She requested a holistic community training to connect and prepare. The role of the private sector, she argued, should be to provide technology and infrastructure, as well as to share expertise and to sponsor trainings.
We, as a private company, can only support, not be in charge. Someone must take the decisions on an executive level.
The international community – represented here by Setsuko Saya (Head of Regional Policy for Sustainable Development Division, OECD) – expressed concern that investments around the world are slowing. In a strained economy, it is a challenge to reverse this trend. One approach is to choose better projects with a long-term vision of resilience. The visions should aim high but must also be achievable. In that respect, they must also be flexible.
The panelists agreed on the importance of each corner in the “iron triangle” around the concept of urban resilience: cities develop visions and execute the projects; the private sector supports adequate training and supplies infrastructure where necessary; and the internationally community facilitates that interface and supports knowledge sharing.