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Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
THU1.1: Towards a Safer World: a Whole-of-Society Approach to Disaster Preparedness
Time: Thursday, 30/Aug/2012: 8:30am - 10:00am
Session Chair: David NABARRO, UNO
Session Chair: Chadia WANNOUS, UNSIC
Location: Aspen

Workshop organized by Towards A Safer World Initiative, UN System Influenza Coordination (UNSIC)

Session Abstract


Towards a safer world: a whole-of-society approach to dsaster preparedness


UN System influenza Coordination (UNSIC), Switzerland

The TASW network is a diverse group of energetic and expert practitioners: it is also the evolving body of whole-of-society best practice; and has extensive experience of using simulation exercises to test contingency plans. The Network convenes a broad range of stakeholders including non-traditional partners from the private sector and the military. TASW is a network of individuals rather than organizations. This facilitates candid, informal and innovative interactions. The significant investments and broad participation in pandemic preparedness since 2005 have generated many practical lessons and innovations - relevant not only for improving responses to health crises, but also for strengthening societal resilience in the face of other major threats. TASW’s diverse stakeholder base can promote learning across silos, new working practices and more effective use of preparedness resources; help ensure that pandemic good practices are applied more widely where relevant, and enable disaster risk management actors to prepare for the threat of pandemics and integrate pandemic into wider disaster planning. Sustaining commitment for pandemic preparedness in the present resource environment will improve the efficiency of responses when further pandemic-like events occur.

The 5 most critical areas of learning that emerged out of the last 6 years of multi-sector prepared-ness for an influenza pandemic include (i) the value of simulation exercises; (ii) the importance of sophisticated risk communication strategies; (iii) the need for community-level preparedness; (iv) the critical role of business continuity planning; and (v) the benefits of whole-of-society approaches. Much experience of good practices in these areas has emerged from the pandemic experience.

The proposed ‘Towards a Safer World’ session at the IDRC event would bring together leading-edge practitioners from each of these five thematic areas, to discuss best practices and lessons learned from their experience in pandemic preparedness and how these can be applied to other crises. Our aspiration is that 1) through stimulating a productive debate amongst the audience, the session would lead to enhanced appreciation of the value of adopting lessons learned from pandemic preparedness and response experiences to other crises, and 2) this session would inspire conference participants to champion and implement practical resilience measures within their own organizations or countries. The Towards a Safer World team would document and disseminate these key findings.

Moderator: Dr. David Nabarro, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Food Security and Nutrition, and the UN System Influenza Coordinator.

Rapporteur: Dr. Chadia Wannous, Senior Policy Advisor and TASW Network Coordinator, UN System Influenza Coordination (UNSIC)


Amir Abdullah- WF (TBC): Mainstreaming Pandemic Preparedness into Multi-Hazard Readiness- Validation of disaster response mechanisms through pandemic preparedness and response exercises at country and regional levels.

David Harper- WHO (Health Security Preparedness): A strategic approach to reducing health risks through the engagement of multiple stakeholders in all- hazard public health preparedness

Emil Agustiono- Indonesia (Whole Of Society approach): Building national pandemic preparedness through strengthening non health sectors: Indonesia’s lesson learnt)

Matthias Schamle-IFRC (Community-Level Preparedness): The relevance of Integrative Risk Management to Red Cross Red Crescent programming

Steve Aldrich-Bio-Era (Business Continuity Planning): How to motivate private sector participants to invest in mitigating and adapting to systemic risks.

Mainstreaming Pandemic Preparedness into Multi-Hazard Readiness


World Food Program, Italy

Validation of disaster response mechanisms through pandemic preparedness and response exercises at country and regional levels.

World Health Organization: health security preparedness

David Ross HARPER

World Health Organization, Switzerland

The world faces increasingly complex and unpredictable public health emergencies arising from known and unknown origins or sources: infectious disease outbreaks; diseases related to unsafe food and water; environmental hazards including chemicals and radiation; humanitarian disasters, natural or man-made; and the health consequences of climate change. All are compounded by increasing population pressures, and all countries are at risk because any public health system can potentially be overwhelmed.

The most efficient, effective and sustainable way to reduce public health risk is to implement a broad risk management approach, which involves preparing society at all levels (local, national, and international) to prevent an emergency from occurring, if this can be done, or to respond to the emergency, whatever the cause, mitigate its impact and recover from its effects. This approach requires multi-sectoral, all-hazards preparedness, and means that countries and the WHO secretariat have to have the policies, competencies, capacities, plans and practices in place for its proper implementation.

In advancing this approach to preparedness, the WHO stresses the need for: (1) clarity - on the evidence and tools that are available, on who is doing what, and on roles and responsibilities; (2) accessible information; (3) follow-through on implementation of the essential foundations, for example the International Health Regulations, the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework, the Hyogo Framework, and many other important initiatives; and (4) assistance for countries in becoming better prepared. We propose the development of a ‘One-stop shop’ for countries spanning the entire spectrum of public health emergencies from infectious diseases to humanitarian disasters.

Building national pandemic preparedness through strengthening non health sectors: Indonesia’s lesson learnt)


Coordinating Ministry for People's Welfare, Indonesia, Republic of

The rise of emerging pandemic threats in Indonesia (70% of them are zoonoses) that implicated not only humans sufferings (food security, food supplies and economic losses) but also pose potential to shift into a regional catastrophy that requires global actions

Such a situation is worsened due to drastic change to ecosystem and worsening climate change. All of which will bring impact that alter the lifes of many people in ASEAN region, especially due to growth in human and livestock populations, rapid urbanisation, closer iinteractions between livestock and wildlife, forest encroachment, globalization of trade in animal and animal products.

Building a nationwide pandemic preparedness is an investment in the form of preventive and control strategy to mitigate the impacts of pandemic. Empowering the non-health sectors by targeting strategic workforces in Aviation, Telecommunications, and Energy is essential (and mandated by our national policy). This in turn will allow the workforce at these sectors to recognize and manage pandemic responses that would reduce the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic by maintaining essential services. The efforts will involve both private businesses and civil society.

The relevance of Integrative Risk Management to RCRC programming

Matthias SCHMALE

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Switzerland

The International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies’ participation at the Global Risk Forum aims at promoting the complementarity of “Integrative Risk Management” and practical application of lessons from pandemic preparedness.

The whole-of society preparedness approach by multiple stakeholders helped better preparion for wide-ranging, unpredictable threats. Strengthening multi-disciplinary partnerships is crucial to Red Cross Red Crescent work and to cross-sectoral responses. Most of IFRC’s 13.1 million active volunteers are engaged in Health, Disaster Management and Risk Reduction. They are critical actors to strengthening resilience in their respective communities. The 187 National Societies, as auxiliary to their governments, also play an active role in promoting collaborative planning, in raising awareness and in advocating for policies in different domains.

Climate change, urbanisation, violence or migration are risk multipliers that contribute to emerging health challenges such as epidemics and pandemics. Meeting these challenges requires use of existing tools and knowledge, innovative approaches and increasing use of new technologies like social media or mobile phones.

For example, in the 2012 wake of the Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease health crisis in Vietnam, the Red Cross mobilized hundreds of volunteers to conduct a massive public information campaign. After assessments and consultations with authorities, the National Society contributed to the national response taking into consideration the IFRC-led Humanitarian Pandemic Preparedness (H2P) Global Program experience. Posters and video clips from the H2P ‘Your best defence is you’ campaign with adapted messages were spread. The retraining of 750 volunteers used relevant modules from pandemic training materials. The prompt production of a wide range of public information tools to educate parents and carers reached 145,000 households.

Through the whole-of-society multi-hazard approach, an important paradigm shift from working in silos to cross-sectoral solutions is happening in humanitarian work.

How to motivate private sector participants to invest in mitigating and adapting to systemic risks

Stephen C. ALDRICH

bio-era, United States of America

Fundamental to effective global preparedness and response to systemic threats is a highly motivated private sector. But what motivates private actors to take a systemic risk seriously, and once engaged, how can private sector strengths and abilities best be integrated with public sector efforts? Recent history demonstrates that the key to catalyzing significant private sector investment toward mitigating or responding in advance of a systemic threat is private-sector education on the economic costs and consequences of failing to do so. This presentation will show how governmental and non-governmental authorities can leverage their position as highly-credible authorities regarding a variety of systemic threats (i.e., climate change, infectious disease, bioterrorism, etc.) to engage the private sector in ways that will effectively mobilize pre-disaster investment. This will require building more effective communication partnerships for explaining the economic consequences of inaction that leverage public and private sector strengths, while mutually benefitting both private and public sector actors. For example, the private sector has acknowledged the importance of communication from public health agencies around infectious disease threats. Companies rely heavily on the information and guidance from public health agencies to communicate with their employees and other stakeholders. Public health agencies such as WHO and the US CDC are seen as highly credible, trusted sources on public health threats and what to do about them. Though these and other agencies do an outstanding job in this role, the tangible value they provide in doing so is not always recognized by the private sector or other sectors of society. Likewise, when private companies have potential solutions to emerging disease threats, their motives often are called into question. This presentation will suggest specific ways the private and public sectors might help each other better identify and communicate the significance of emerging systemic threats.

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