The private sector has huge opportunities to participate in disaster risk management in Bangladesh as it is also important to ensure sustainable business, stakeholders said at a workshop on Tuesday.
"A disaster hampers industrialisation and economic growth. So, this is a duty for all of us irrespective of business or non-business sector to respond to this critical issue," DCCI President Rizwan Rahman said at the event on "Private Sector Participation in Disaster Risk Management in Bangladesh".
"We should focus on risk resilient infrastructure systems to ensure risk-free industrialisation and investment."
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) and Strengthening Urban Public-Private Programming for Earthquake Resilience Project (SUPER Project) Consortium jointly organised the event at the DCCI Auditorium in the capital.
To boost the private sector engagement in disaster risk management, DCCI and SUPER Project have jointly established South Asia's first disaster risk management centre titled "Private Sector Emergency Operation Center (POC)" in Bangladesh.
Rizwan Rahman urged for a change in the traditional mindset regarding disaster risk management and stressed the need for more involvement of the private sector in this regard.
After inaugurating the centre, Dr Md Enamur Rahman, state minister for disaster management and relief, said this emergency operation centre can play a vital role in the fight against any disaster.
He said that the government has taken initiative to establish a "National Emergency Operation Center" in the Tejgaon area with Chinese technical and financial assistance.
A 70-80% development investment of Bangladesh is expected from the private sector in the 8th Five-Year Plan.
The speakers also emphasised a coordinated programme of the government and the private sector for disaster risk management.
Over 42 lakh volunteers have already been trained and equipped with necessary instruments to mitigate the losses of disaster in Bangladesh, according to the disaster management and relief ministry.
DCCI Director Shahid Hossain said, "When we build our factories, we have to consider the issue of a disaster. The costs may increase slightly, but that would save our products during disasters like an earthquake."
Buildings must be made earthquake resilient, he added.
ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir said the private sector should allocate more funds for research on disaster risk management and also to create a database of skilled manpower for disaster management.
She also said that trade organisations in rural areas should incorporate more in this regard.
Disaster and Relief Secretary Md Mohsin, Head of Office of DG European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Daniela D'Urso, and National Director of World Vision Bangladesh Suresh Bartlett also shared their views at the programme.