Striving for Sustainability by Bringing Preparation and Recovery to the Forefront

January 24, 2008

By Claire Bonilla, Senior Director of Disaster Management, Microsoft

Last week the BCLC, held a unique forum bringing together constituents from the public, private sector and academia to tussle with the challenges and opportunities associated with recovery efforts associated with the California wildfires.  Through the course of sharing research, economic assessments, best practices and local/state concerns, it became, not surprisingly, clear the need for a framework for collaboration/communication across public and private sector entities involved, not just in recovery efforts but also around preparation. 

The past few years has seen continued momentum around coordinated response efforts – the staffing of private sector liaisons in government, inter-government and non-government organizations, the growth in corporate citizenship response arms in the private sector; and increased momentum around organizational self-sufficiency through the proliferation of Business Continuity Management. We need to continue to increase the scope of these cross-coordinating efforts to elevate our focus on the preparation and recovery phases of crisis management, building stronger public and private sector partnerships targeted at prevention, mitigation and seizing continual opportunities for economic innovation and renewal.

The forum served a worthy purpose in raising the awareness and identifying areas of opportunity. I encourage participants and non-participants alike not to wait for a top down collaboration framework for preparation and recovery, but to begin at your individual/grass roots level, establishing these partnerships relevant to your own community, while at the same time escalating needs to the next level for such collaborative efforts. 

We all play a role in a thriving community, building our own local plans is a key step in continued sustainability.