Media Release - AMCHAM T&T Strengthens Public-Private Sector Coordination for Disaster Management with the ODPM & UNICEF

(l-r) Melissa Pierre - Senior Trade and Policy Specialist (AMCHAM T&T); Nirad Tewarie - CEO (AMCHAM T&T); Jennie Trow - Emergency Specialist (UNICEF) and Major General (Retired) Rodney Smart - CEO (ODPM)



AMCHAM T&T, in collaboration with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM), and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) hosted a workshop to enhance collaboration and coordination of Disaster Management in Trinidad and Tobago on September 21, 2023, at the Radisson Hotel, Port of Spain with representatives from the private and public sectors, and civil society organizations. 

This initiative is part of the programme of activities AMCHAM T&T has undertaken as the Private Sector Alliance for Resilient Societies (ARISE) lead for Trinidad and Tobago, which works towards a resilient, prosperous future where fewer lives are lost to disasters; capital assets and investments are risk-informed; and infrastructure is resilient to natural and man-made hazards.

The workshop entitled “Strengthening Public and Private Sector Coordination for Disaster Management in Trinidad and Tobago,” aimed to enhance the delivery of humanitarian aid and disaster response through the strengthening of partnerships between the public and private sectors. It also focused on advancing a resource mapping project, which commenced last year, and supporting logistics software for efficiently tracking and accessing goods and services during humanitarian aid operations. Also, in attendance were representatives from the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government’s Disaster Management Units and the Tobago Emergency Management Agency. 

In his opening remarks, Nirad Tewarie, CEO of AMCHAM T&T expressed the need to reinforce public and private partnerships for strengthening disaster response through the creation of formal engagements between sectors. “The purpose of today’s workshop isn’t about just strengthening how we respond and provide relief during catastrophic events. We want to move beyond this and strengthen how we come together as organizations operating in the private and public sectors to include Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) to mitigate the impact of these catastrophes.”

“At AMCHAM T&T we are very pleased to lead this engagement both with the private and public sectors since we know that natural disasters have a significant financial impact on both our citizens and our businesses,” Tewarie said. “Additionally, the cost of rebuilding public infrastructure and administering relief efforts during times of crisis comes at a huge financial cost to the public sector. That means every organization and individual must undertake this responsibility and involve more DRR in their operations when dealing with catastrophes.”

Meanwhile, Major General (Retired) Rodney Smart, CEO of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) said it would take a “whole of society” approach to contend with disasters of immense magnitude and to fully address the complex challenges presented in this modern, multi-hazard environment. “This integrated approach must involve citizens, the public and private sectors, civil society organizations, and regional and international partners, to prevent, mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from impacts that may challenge the resilience of Trinidad and Tobago.”

“The workshop is therefore designed to serve as a platform for open dialogue and knowledge sharing, allowing us to identify challenges and opportunities, from which we can derive common goals, explore innovative strategies, best practices, and lessons learned.”

Also, Jennie Trow, UNICEF’s Emergency Specialist in her opening remarks recognized the private sector’s expertise and ability to strengthen disaster risk management, while upholding the basic rights of children and families in vulnerable areas. “Traditionally, support from business has been more significant during response to sudden onset emergencies. We now need the private sector to be even more engaged in risk reduction, mitigation, and preparedness in order to build community resilience to withstand future crises.”

Trow said businesses can leverage their own expertise, resources, and channels to make positive contributions to long-term resilience and to address humanitarian needs. “We saw this in the recent responses to COVID-19, and regionally at Saint Vincent and the Grenadines volcano eruption and Suriname floods, which truly showcased how the private sector can accelerate and scale-up actions to ensure the needs of the most vulnerable are met.”

The workshop enabled participants to identify common goals and explore opportunities for increased collaboration between business sector organizations and disaster management agencies. Together, representatives were able to recommend innovative strategies, best practices and chart the way forward for creating sustainable partnerships through increased collaboration – an initiative that directly aligns with the ODPM’s strategic imperatives which specifically seek to strengthen national disaster readiness and resilience.

AMCHAM T&T would like to thank the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM), and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for their collaboration on this workshop, as we continue to strengthen public-private partnerships in the coordination of efficient disaster management policies across all organizations.

For further questions or comments please contact: Nirad Tewarie, CEO of AMCHAM T&T at


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