Cities on the Frontline Speaker Series
#14 – Private Sector Engagement In Urban Resilience
The fourteenth edition of the Cities on the Frontline Series delved into the role of Private Sector Engagement in Urban Resilience. During this session we heard from Hans Peter Teufers, Director of International Programs at The UPS Foundation; Berfu Çopur, Senior Project Specialist at IDEMA and Project Manager of Saglam KOBİ Project; Evren Aydoğan, Deputy General Manager of IDEMA and Director of Sağlam KOBİ Project; Dr. Michael R. DiGregorio, Vietnam Country Representative at The Asia Foundation and Nguyễn Thi Thuong Linh of the Mekong Resilient Business Network.
A common theme that echoed through each speaker’s presentation is the importance of resilience in small and medium entities (SMEs) and how a lack of such can have global effects on people, products, and economies. In the last two years we have witnessed how this has played out during the Covid-19 pandemic. During his presentation Dr. DiGregorio depicted how the rise of cases caused supply chain disruptions. While some disruptions had more severe effects than others this no doubt hindered nations’ ability to fight and recover from the virus and effected global economies. For example, production shortages of PPE resulted in increases of infections and deaths which further complicating Covid responses, especially in poor communities. When resilience is built into local, national, and international businesses a sudden shock will not have the same debilitating effects by preventing shock effects from piling up. To quote Dr. DiGregorio, “building networks of resilient businesses to advocate for their own needs and the needs of their communities creates a resource that cities need in times of crises.”
The UPS Foundation has worked internationally to instill resilience throughout business and industry systems. As Director of International Programs at the UPS Foundation, Mr. Teufers, shared the Foundation’s priorities and efforts being made around the world in the areas of health and humanitarian relief, equity and economic empowerment, local community engagement, and planet protection through the HELP program. The HELP program has progressed to make a global impact through the prioritization of countries with a high-hazard risk combined with vulnerable small businesses with the potential to devastate the economy. With the goal of increasing SME’s ability to expediate recovery and reduce losses when disasters’ strike, the HELP program has generated an easily duplicated and expandable pilot program with innovative tools that will guide novices through resilience from beginning to advanced. The importance of such work was then depicted through the presentation of the Sağlam KOBİ Project.
While some countries have begun implementing recovery efforts following the Covid-19 crises, it is clear that the global community is far from a full recovery and with the increased threat of natural disasters due to climate change it is more important than ever to build resilient business systems. This will ensure better efforts to respond quickly and effectively to disasters as well as ensure stronger recovery efforts are possible. It is essential the city, national, and international governments work to build resilience within while simultaneously encouraging private and public institutions to increase resilience in their operating systems.
Dr. Michael R. DiGregorio
Vietnam Country Representative, The Asia Foundation
“As the current crisis has shown us, we really do rely on businesses for many of the services needed for crisis and risk management.”
Dr. Michael R. DiGregorio‘s presentation
Director, International Programs, The UPS Foundation
“Our level of disaster is rising; therefore, our level of resilience should rise as much, if not more. We want to have tangible outcomes and real impact when we talk about resilience. We need to protect our biggest clients: small and medium enterprises #SMEs...“
Hans-Peter Teufers‘s presentation
IDEMA, Project Manager Saglam KOBİ Project
“As we look ahead, we aim to go beyond and include more stakeholders and future generations in building SMEs resilience, including #fintech integration to enhance service quality and digital solutions.“
Deputy General Manager, IDEMA, Director of Sağlam KOBİ Project
“Together with our partners, we have created a business resilience and continuity platform, the Sağlam KOBİ Project, with which we aim to help #SMEs at a global level.“
Evren Aydoğan and Berfu Çopur‘s presentation
Nguyen Thi Thuong Linh
Deputy Director of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Can Tho
“Businesses play a significant role in economic development, especially in distribution and the export of agri-products.“