ARISE hosts largest member conference to date as AGM goes digital 


Jeanette Elsworth

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
Screen shot of participants joining the ARISE AGM remotely
Screen shot of participants joining the ARISE AGM remotely

ARISE members met in record numbers for their Annual General Meeting this year, showing the growing emphasis on the private sector as key partners in disaster risk reduction.

In the context of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it was clear that members felt the need for resilient and sustainable economic growth was more pressing than ever.

In her opening remarks, Mami Mizutori, the head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and Permanent Co-chair of ARISE highlighted the elevated role for ARISE.

“There is this blatant existence of social injustice and inequality, which has been laid bare even in the world’s most rich and free countries.  In a nutshell, today’s world exposes the problems we have with our governance, and how we connect and cooperate with each other,” said Ms Mizutori. 

“There are many reasons to be depressed but these worrying times also offer an opportunity for us to make changes, as politicians, business leaders, communities and individuals. Recovery from Covid-19 has to be resilient, green and equitable. We cannot go back to business as usual and we need to create a new normal together.”

Out-going co-chair, Dale Sands of Sands Construction thanked the outgoing board and said that while much had been done, so much more is needed.

“Covid-19, extreme weather events and other natural and man-made disasters are reminders of the need for expanded collaboration and cooperation between the private and the public sector to better prepare for, respond to and recover from these disasters”, said Mr Sands. 

In-coming co-chair, Martha Herrera of CEMEX, said that she was thrilled to have the opportunity to keep up the teamwork with the ARISE network and UNDRR.

“Companies are adjusting to this new reality which should also be seen as an opportunity to reinforce our business’ models so that we can face present and future challenges in a better way”, said Ms Herrera. 

“More than ever we need to create together a movement towards resilient societies, always putting people at the centre because ultimately, prevention saves lives.”

The Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies, or ARISE, is a global network of private sector entities who work globally to advance the commitments of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and promote business resilience as a central factor for global sustainable development.

Under a newly refreshed mission, the ARISE will focus on four priority areas: Integrating DRR into financial sector decision making; building the resilience of SMEs; resilient infrastructure, and; the role of insurance in disaster risk reduction and resilience.

At the AGM, the current board handed over the baton to the newly election Board members, who will aim to make risk-informed investment a reality over the course of the next three years. 

New Board members are:
-    Martha Herrera, Global Director of Responsible Business and Director of the CEMEX-Tec Centre for Sustainable Community Development from Mexico, who has served as Vice-Chair of ARISE for the past three years and was elected as the new Co-Chair of ARISE. 
-    Hans-Peter Teufers, Director of International Programs at the UPS Foundation from Germany, who served as a member of the previous board and was elected as Vice-Chair of the Global ARISE Board.
-    Ahmed Riad Ali, Managing Director of Estmrarya Management Consulting from Dubai, who has served as Vice-Chair of ARISE for the past three years and represented UNDRR at the 2019 UN HLPF.
-    Fernando Perez de Britto, CEO of AI Systems Research Ltd in Brazil, who has served as Vice-Chair of ARISE for the past three years.
-    Chloe Demrovsky, president and CEO of Disaster Recovery Institute International in USA is a new member of the global board with extensive experience in disaster recovery and preparations.
-    Lizra Fabien, Executive Director of The Dominica Association of Industry & Commerce and is another new input into the ARISE Board. She also represents the Network of Caribbean Chambers of Commerce (CARICHAM) to which she was unanimously appointed as the first Chairperson.
-    Satoshi Hijikata, President of Kokusai Kogyo in Japan was elected to board as replacement for Ms. Sandra Wu who sat as a member for the previous term. He will continue the focus on resilient infrastructure.
-    Nirankar Saxena, Deputy Secretary-General of the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, is a repeating Board member re-elected based on his track-record on policy negotiations with government on private sector frameworks and will continue with a stout focus on small and medium enterprises.
-    Liza Silerio, Vice-President-Corporate Compliance of SM Prime Holdings Inc. in the Philippines was elected to board as replacement for Mr. Hans Sy who sat as a member for the previous term. She will continue the focus on small and medium enterprises and micro insurance schemes.
-    Michael Sudarkasa, CEO of Africa Business Group from South Africa was elected to the ARISE Global Board only a short period of time after he joined ARISE and established the newly established ARISE network in Africa.

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