The World Bank Disaster Risk Management Hub, Tokyo organized a knowledge exchange event on business continuity planning in water sector on November 10, 2015.
The session was delivered with a focus on business continuity planning (BCP) for Chittagong Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (CWASA) in Bangladesh, which is one of the five components of technical assistance project “South Asia: Promotion of Resilient Infrastructure” financed by “Japan-World Bank Program for Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management in Developing Countries”. It created an opportunity for participants’ information exchange on the components of BCP, measures for developing an incremental and feasible BCP, public relations to inspiring deeper understanding and training in order to cultivate the Chittagong project.
Connecting Tokyo, Manila and Dhaka via video conference system and telephone, participants gathered on a virtual table which consisted of the invited speaker, Mr. Kenji Ozawa from Bureau of Waterworks, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Mr. Koji Mitomori of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) from Dhaka, Chittagong WASA team who visited Manila to study water BCP in Philippines, Disaster Risk Management Specialists from World Bank Philippine Office and Disaster Risk Management Hub, Tokyo.
Mr. Ozawa, Director for Coordination, General Affairs Division, Bureau of Waterworks, Tokyo Metropolitan Government illustrated the emergency preparedness and recovery efforts of metropolitan agencies in Tokyo with emphasis on water supply function during seismic and other natural disasters. In his presentation, Mr. Ozawa highlighted specific aspects of BCP directly relevant for Chittagong WASA such as classification and prioritization of core business functions under emergency operations, importance of risk assessment based planning in structural and non-structural activities, employee safety and deployment protocols, internal and external communication procedures, stakeholder identification and cooperation agreements, employee training and drills, and continuous testing and revisions of BCP.
Mr. Amin, Executive Engineer and Business Continuity Plan Coordinator, CWASA described the city’s susceptibility to floods, landslides, drought and other emergency events which exacerbate the challenges of water supply. Mr. Amin discussed the ongoing process of preparing CWASA’s first BCP, their priorities and focus areas under the plan, and identified the challenges for BCP enforcement.
Participants were engaged in impassioned discussion, shared their challenges, and discussed possible incremental solutions for securing daily operations under emergency events. Through this two-way learning opportunity, the session provided an occasion for CWASA to learn the mechanism for developing sustainable and workable BCP, and build capacity for implementing them, referring to the experiences of Japan.