Hans T. Sy, Chairman of the Executive Committee of SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) continues to lead private sector initiatives in the Philippines on disaster resiliency with his re-election as a member of the board of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) ARISE International Board, the top global business leaders’ group on disaster risk reduction management (DRRM).
Mr. Sy’s re-election was made during the annual general meeting of ARISE at Conrad Hotel in Pasay City Tuesday afternoon. The announcement was made during the 2017 Top Leaders’ Forum, a private sector conference that make businesses more resilient against disasters, also at the Conrad Hotel Wednesday.
He is the only Filipino member of the ARISE International Board, along with top global business leaders. He was first elected to the board in 2015 when ARISE was formed to be a platform for business leaders to share information, experiences, activities and projects on DRRM.
Sy has been at the forefront of private sector-led DRRM initiatives in the Philippines because of the vulnerability of the country to natural disasters. Between 1995-2015, the Philippines has been ranked 4th among countries with the highest human cost from weather and climate-related disasters by the Centre for Research and Epidemiology of the UNISDR.
In 2016, the Philippines has been ranked 3rd in terms of risk and vulnerability due to its inadequate infrastructure primarily due to weaknesses in urban planning development.
This is the reason why Mr. Sy has spearheaded the Build Back Better principle in all aspects of infrastructure development in order to address the ever growing threat of climate change, calamities and other emergencies.
“An efficient and resilient critical infrastructure is imperative for the overall well-being of a nation, its citizens, its economy,” Sy earlier pointed during an UNISDR forum in Cancun, Mexico. This is the reason why SM Prime invests 10 percent of its capital expenditure on DRR in the construction of its buildings. “By investing in resilience we minimize vulnerability, better safeguard physical assets, reduce recovery expense, and contribute to local government efforts. Ultimately we are able to better protect lives, and have safer, healthier, happier communities” he added.
Believing that an efficient and effective DRRM may only be achieved through collaborative efforts of government and the private sectors, Sy has led ARISE to enable businesses to have a say in governmental actions that will help reduce the impact of disasters and protect people, communities and economies.
Through its many programs, ARISE seeks a substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihood and health. It has 7 key themes which include DRRM Strategies, Insurance, Investment Metrics, Education and Training, Legal and Regulatory and Urban Risk and Resilience.
Since its inception, ARISE, which has more 140 member companies from around the world and from every sector of the economy, has made headway in setting standards to make businesses more disaster resilient and establishing stronger partnerships with governments to implement DRRM projects.
Aside from its Build Back Better principle, ARISE has pushed for integrated approach in upgrading key infrastructure, education and training on DRRM in communities and educational institutions, data-gathering and technology to
improve tools and design for better implementation of resilience as well as incentives for business to invest in long-term DRRM.
Also present during the 2017 Top Leaders Forum was Dr. Robert Glasser, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, who lauded SMPHI’s efforts at DRRM. “Mr. Sy and SMPHI has made significant contributions to disaster resiliency in the Philippines through many of their property developments worthy of emulation by the business sector,” he said.
Prior to his stint at the UNISDR, Mr. Glasser was Secretary General of CARE International, one of the world’s largest non-governmental humanitarian organizations active in 80 countries. He also served in various capacities at the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID, United States Department of Energy, Global Call for Climate Action, Cornel University Peace Studies Program and Centre for International and Strategic Affairs at the University of California, among others.
Hans Sy reelected to UN disaster reduction board