The Secretary-General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Dr. A. Didar Singh, with UNISDR Director Ms. Kirsi Madi (Photo: UNISDR)
By Andy McElroy
NEW DELHI, 2 November 2016 – A business federation representing more than 250,000 enterprises in the world’s fastest growing major economy today pledged to lead the launch of a fund for private sector innovators to develop sustainable solutions for disaster resilience.
The Secretary-General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Dr. A. Didar Singh called on businesses, governments and donor agencies to establish a US$100 million Global United Fund for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Dr. Singh said the proposed Fund would provide seed investment for entrepreneurial ideas that pass a stringent ‘proof of concept’ test and have the potential to be DRR game-changers at the local and national level.
“The initial stages of development often will not find a business model; the commercial viability mostly comes later. This Fund would ensure innovators get through this initial stage,” Dr. Singh said. “The Fund would enable such solutions to get to market and once there, the market takes over. We are not here to follow other best practices rather we are here to create our own best practices.”
The FICCI Secretary-General was addressing more than 200 business executives at the First Private Sector Conference: Global United Fund Business Investment Opportunities, in New Delhi’s Shangri-la Hotel.
The President of the India Angel Network of investors, Ms. Padmaja Ruparel, said such a Fund would be attractive to investors: “Disaster risk management creates opportunities for ‘need-to-have’ companies and rest assured that the money will come once there is such an opportunity.”
UNISDR Director Ms. Kirsi Madi told the forum that the private sector was ¨rising to the challenge¨ of implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the world’s ambitious plan to prevent and substantially reduce disaster risk and losses.
“More and more businesses around the world are coming to the conclusion that reducing their disaster risk is an investment not a cost. In Asia there are several instances of the private sector being the innovators and catalysts for positive change and sustainability,” Ms. Madi said.
“And here in India we see yet another example with the proposed development of the Global United Fund to bring governments and the private sector together for business sustainability through DRR.”
The forum attracted several CEOs and senior business representatives from India and around Asia, including Ms. Sandra Wu, the Chairperson and CEO of Kokusai Kogyo Co. Ltd, who is also the Asia Focal Point for UNISDR’s Private Sector Alliance for Resilient Societies (ARISE).
The Senior Director of FICCI, Mr. Saxena told the conference that his network was keen to establish a national ARISE platform in India to join those already in existence in Japan and Philippines.
FICCI’s five-year-old Millennium Alliance for innovative solutions for sustainable development was cited as a model for the Global United Fund for DRR.
The Millennium Alliance provides entrepreneurs with a range of services such as seed funding, grants, incubation and accelerator services, networking opportunities, business support services, knowledge exchange, technical assistance and facilitates access to equity, debt and other capital.
The private sector forum is part of the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, hosted by the Government of India and co-organized by UNISDR, which will be officially opened, Thursday 3 November, by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi.