Fragile zones in Asia-Pacific

Countries in the Asia Pacific region are periodically affected by a range of natural disasters and conflict situations that lead to fragility. A range of natural disasters such as typhoons (the Philippines, Pacific Islands) and earthquakes (Nepal) left countries completely destroyed. In addition, political and ethnic conflicts stalled development in economies like Myanmar, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Business membership organizations can have an important and impactful role in preparing enterprises with contingency planning for natural disasters and crisis, in managing an immediate fragile situation, and in post reconstruction.

Needs assessment for the private sector in the Philippines (2015) Given that disasters impose a major threat to enterprise survival in the Philippines, the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) is committed to developing strategies and practical tools that can be deployed to enterprises in the Philippines. If enterprises are equipped with basic knowledge and prevention tools, they will be able to rebound from disasters, resume normal operations, and be able to provide more jobs to people in affected areas. This report provides recommendations for the leadership role ECOP, as the nation's chief representative organization for enterprises, can assume on this front.


In direct collaboration with its member states, tripartite constituents, UN partners, international and national agencies, the ILO supports an employment-centred recovery from conflict, turmoil and disasters while promoting decent work and social justice as key drivers of social cohesion and the prevention of further conflict.

In the Asia and Pacific region, the frequency of disasters is increasing with the growing number of people living in vulnerable areas. Just in the last two years, a range of natural disasters left countries and communities destroyed. The realization that long term impacts of disaster situations to economic development, growth and poverty reduction can be reduced or eliminated by strengthening the resilience of communities point towards the critical need to develop comprehensive disaster risk reduction and management strategies.

The Approach

The private sector involvement in disaster risk reduction is key in achieving a solid integrated approach. There is now increasing recognition that the private sector has a multifaceted role to play and in order to truly increase resilience of communities and economies, an integrated approach, including all players of society and economy, is required in both preparing for disaster situations and responding to it.

Business membership organizations (BMO) provide an important but often underutilized channel for resilience building efforts. Given that BMOs represent a broad spectrum of the private sector they can provide support at all points in terms of building resilience to managing a disaster situation and helping firms get their operations functioning again. Additionally, as job creation remains key in stimulating rapid economic recovery in the aftermath of a disaster, BMOs can also play a substantive part in the process of matching employees with jobs and jobs with skilled personnel.


In partnership with the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), the ILO published a report titled “Needs assessment for the private sector in the Philippines: Disaster preparedness, response and recovery” that provides an overview of existing business contingency plans and private sector involvement in relief and recovery efforts. It identifies existing gaps in enterprise needs and provides recommendations for businesses and stakeholders. With the support of Business New Zealand, the findings were discussed at an ECOP conference in November 2014.

Responding to the lack of awareness of disaster contingency planning which was highlighted in this report, ILO and ECOP then developed and piloted the Enterprise Development, Growth and Enhancement (EDGE) peer-to-peer learning programme “Business Continuity Planning (BCP) for natural disasters” to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.