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Focus on business continuity planning, preparedness

Filipe Naigulevu
Thursday, February 01, 2018

BUSINESS continuity planning and disaster preparedness are being seriously inculcated in local private enterprises, organisations and state entities given Fiji's vulnerability to natural disasters and climate change.

Several businesses and state entities were yesterday part of the "Train the Trainer - Business Continuity Planning" workshop co-organised by the US government, Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council (FBDRC) and facilitated by the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF).

The two-day training — which drew more than 35 participants from major businesses and private sector representatives in the Capital City — focuses on better preparing for natural disasters, the role of first responders and how climate variability affects businesses.

It was part of the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Ready project, which aims to strengthen the environmental and disaster resilience of Pacific Island countries.

In opening the training, US ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu, Judith Cefkin highlighted the need to better prepare for unpreventable and unpredictable future disasters.

"For private enterprises, this means having a business continuity plan that includes disaster proofing so that businesses are able to stay open after a disaster," she said.

"Evidence worldwide suggests that by having a business continuity plan, businesses are more likely to adapt, survive, and thrive when disaster strikes.

"Resilient development requires the participation of everyone across all sectors of the economy."

Ms Cefkin said this was also a key component of the USAID's Ready project aimed at strengthening the capacity of Pacific Island countries to prepare for, and respond to, future disasters.

FCEF chairperson Sandeep Chauhan reiterated their commitment towards such training, which would go a long way for the private sector in Fiji.

"The value of this training comes in multiple folds ranging from climate risks and opportunities to climate change adaptation strategies," Mr Chauhan said.

"It is timely that the training is conducted during Fiji's cyclone months as the soon-to-be trainers will be advocates and trainers for their respective organisations and businesses.

"We can all agree and acknowledge that with climate change, the private sector has faced challenges."

Mr Chauhan acknowledged the FBDRC, which is now into its second-year term, who had been advocates for Fiji's private sector.

The training, which continues today, was first implemented in Labasa last November and will also be implemented in Rakiraki later this month.

Participants will be certified to mentor other businesses and private sector organisations across the country in the area of business continuity planning.

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