Strengthening Resilience with the Private Sector

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and other stakeholders from the private sector, academia, civil society, government and the United Nations, have proposed to increase the scale and effectiveness of private sector engagement in climate change adaptation and mitigation, disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery in Vanuatu.

The VCCI, with support from the Connecting Business initiative, the UNDP Pacific Risk Resilience Program, the Local Supplier Engagement Project, and the DFAT/GIZ Climate Finance Readiness for the Pacific (CFRP) Project, plans to establish a Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee (VBRC) to strengthen activities aimed at engaging the private sector in climate change interventions, humanitarian action and post-emergency reconstruction, and supporting overall resilience, in coordination with other actors.

The activities that the Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee could support include:

  1. providing a regular forum for dialogue and collaboration between the public and private sectors on climate change issues, disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery;

  2. raising awareness among the private sector about climate change and disaster risk management;

  3. providing capacity building programs to increase the resilience of businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises, to withstand and recover from shocks, including by implementing a business continuity planning and disaster preparedness training program for small and medium enterprises;

  4. embedding the private sector in national disaster management and climate change planning, policies and processes, as well as resilience and disaster risk management strategies and programs, to secure more structured engagement and coordination between the private sector, Government, UN and NGOs;

  5. identifying and engaging private sector capacities and resources to respond to emergencies and match those capacities with humanitarian needs;

  6. mapping and sharing information on private sector engagement to share leading practice and mobilize additional support including from new climate finance sources;

  7. building or strengthening VCCI’s website to consolidate and share information with the private sector and provide a clear climate change and disaster entry point for the private sector in Vanuatu, that is linked to the Connecting Business Global Portal; and

  8. producing and sharing best practice from Vanuatu on private sector engagement regionally and internationally.

  9. assisting local businesses, in particular small and medium enterprises, in securing their business continuity through disasters by linking them with training on climate finance, disaster risk management and risk reduction available through international agencies. The VBRC will also support the work of and engage with:

  10. the National Disaster Council, national humanitarian clusters and Pacific Humanitarian Team;

  11. the National Advisory Board on Climate Change & Disaster Risk Reduction (NAB) and its’ Climate Finance Working Group which aims to ensure access and availability of climate finance to all stakeholders, with a special focus on the private sector;

  12. the Australian and Vanuatu Red Cross’s Pacific Local Supplier Engagement initiative; and

  13. the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) program.

The various VCCI business associations and industry working groups VBRC Partners The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) is the advocate, representative and supporter of the business community in Vanuatu.

Established in 1995 under the “Chambers of Commerce & Industry of Vanuatu Act”, it represents over 1300 members of the business community. All businesses who hold a valid business license in Vanuatu are automatically granted membership to the VCCI through payment of annual fees to the Government.

As the national voice for the private sector, VCCI represent the interests and concerns of our members by lobbying and advising the government at local, provincial and national levels for changes that will make Vanuatu a better place to operate a business, and hence contributing to the development and growth of our Vanuatu’s economy.

VCCI delivers support and services to the business community through its Training and Business Development Services Unit, Employers Trade Promotion Resilience Services Unit and Agribusiness Unit, and aim to pursue these objectives while respecting the cultural traditions and natural environment of Vanuatu.

The vision of VCCI is “A strong and respectable private sector contributing to Vanuatu’s Economic Independence” The Connecting Business initiative is a multi-stakeholder alliance engages the private sector strategically and holistically in disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery, in coordination with national disaster management structures.

The initiative is operationally led by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) acting as technical advisor for disaster risk reduction. The Pacific portion of the CBi is being delivered through the UNDP Pacific Risk Resilience Programme, and the CBi and PRRP are supporting VCCI to establish the Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee.

The Pacific Local Supplier Engagement initiative (Pacific LSE) is an initiative by the Australian and Vanuatu Red Cross Societies to stimulate new connections and partnerships between the local business and disaster management sectors.

Funded by the Australian Government’s Pacific Humanitarian Challenge it commenced in 2016 and is developing a digital platform prototype to test in Vanuatu, intended to assist exchange of supply and demand information between disaster organisations and local businesses for better supply chain management and improved procurement from local suppliers in disaster preparation, response and recovery.

The initiative has also established a “Procurement and Standardisation Focus Group” through the national Logistics Cluster of high quality logistics/procurement officers from international NGOs and the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) to engage with local businesses to test the digital procurement platform and contribute to developing new and improved pre-disaster supply agreements with local suppliers.

The Pacific LSE Adviser and this group work in close collaboration with the VCCI and CBI in developing the Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee and its links to the disaster sector. The DFAT/GIZ Climate Change Finance Readiness for the Pacific (CFRP) Project aims to strengthen the capacity of Pacific Island Countries to access climate change finance.

It is directly implemented by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), which has been working to support the Government of Vanuatu as well as private sector and civil society stakeholders to adapt to climate change since 2009.

In addition to local partners, the program works in close collaboration with the Pacific Community (SPC), Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIFS), and Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC). With funding from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the program in Vanuatu will support the VCCI to become “ready” to access the newly emerging global finance flows aimed at climate change.

Specifically, the CFRP will provide mapping of private sector climate change adaptation and mitigation programs, and technical input into project proposal development for private sector initiatives that are based on national strategic frameworks meet the priorities and concerns of local stakeholders.