Swedish governmental bodies formed a delegation to provide a private sector partnership workshop earlier this month in Bangkok. The aim of the workshop was to offer disaster relief solutions in Asia with the focus towards Thailand and Philippines.
A range of niche technological products from Sweden were also offered during the workshop.
The delegation met local governmental organisations including Ministry of Public Health, Department of Public Works, Ministry of Transport, Thai Meteorological Department and National Disaster Warning Center.
Thailand and Philippines are the two nations who are most challenged in terms of natural disasters. They were deemed by the delegation as most in need of such solutions.
Thailand is heavily affected by floods yearly during the monsoon seasons. The country is also geographically close to earthquake zones. In the last 15 years, economic damages caused by disasters have been estimated to 43 billion USD according to a recent report.
On the other hand , Philippines are prone to be hit by storms hit by nine storms including Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 which killed over 6000 people. The country is also exposed to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Sweden’s Ambassador to Thailand, Mr Staffan Herrström opened the workshop and lauded the services Sweden can provide including its technology and partnerships.
“We care. Also our products and solutions have proven track record… it is natural to continue within disaster response, where one way is to make use of knowledge, and capacity from the private sector via private sector partnerships ‘’ he said .
Mr Markus Werne, Head of the OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific pointed out the critical importance of strong multilateral partnerships during the workshop.
He also noted the need to source out new methods in disaster relief preparedness due to rising economic costs as developing nations continue to progress.
‘’The impact of natural disasters will rise, where partnership rather than sponsorship should be in focus. Both expertise and funds are needed, where the goal is to be able to have a well-coordinated response to disasters’’ he said.
The UN is supported by various members from private sectors providing communications expertise, equipment and resources to assist humanitarian relief organizations in responding faster and more effectively when disaster strikes.
The workshop was an opportunity for the business delegation and several agencies to meet and collaborate to figure out how disaster relief can materialize in these regions. It also aims to identify how each Swedish product offered during the workshop can match with specific needs.
Image from United Nations Photo– CC BY -NC -ND 2.0