Supporting Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Practices in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

A hand stops a domino piece from falling
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
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1600 – 1730 CEST


This live panel is organized by the UNDRR private sector alliance ARISE and supports the UK-led Race to Resilience global campaign. It will be hosted during the International Chamber of Commerce's Make Climate Action Everyone’s Business Forum

The discussions will align with the release of the new report ‘Increasing SME Uptake of Disaster Risk Reduction: Guidance for policymakers, financiers and large businesses’ which builds on the 2020 UNDRR report ‘Reducing Risk & Building the Resilience of SMEs to Disasters


Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the bedrock of global, national, and local markets, supporting 50% of global GDP and employing two of every three people. Given their critical and ubiquitous role in the global economy, SMEs are uniquely positioned to accelerate action toward reducing the risks posed by climate change and other natural and man-made hazards, thereby supporting the priorities and goals of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

However, when disaster strikes, SMEs are hit harder than any other sector, bearing around 75% of losses experienced by businesses. SMEs also suffer longer and are slower to recover than larger businesses. Losses incurred by SMEs often have spillover effects into the wider economy, causing further hardships for vulnerable groups. The disproportionate share of risks borne by SMEs, in part, reflects their concentration both in high-hazard regions in the global South and in high-vulnerability sectors, such as agriculture.

Despite proven benefits, SMEs currently underinvest in DRR activities. Investment in DRR has high payoffs through reduced impact and faster recovery times: high-level analysis produced by UNDRR suggests that adoption of DRR measures can reduce disaster losses for SMEs by up to a third. However, despite a strong general business case, SMEs underinvest in DRR, with uptake between 10% and 20% less than other firms, depending on the sector and region.

This webinar will discuss opportunities to support increased DRR and resilience in SMEs, focusing on:

  1. Supporting policy frameworks that address specific needs of SMEs including from a regulatory, financial and fiscal perspective;
  2. Providing access to finance and financial products tailored to SMEs;
  3. Addressing interdependencies and inequities across the supply chain including through contracting models;
  4. Combining enterprise risk management and business continuity plans to increase focus on risk prevention through enhanced accessibility, awareness raising and incentives.


In the spirit of the 'Race to Resilience', the purpose of this webinar is to build awareness among SMEs, large corporations, business associations, financiers, and policymakers, of critical ways to support SMEs with mainstreaming disaster risk reduction practices in their operations, and thereby, build long-term resilience to multi-hazard risk.


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