For Immediate Release
February 2, 2002
WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM ANNOUNCES:
DISASTER RESPONSE NETWORK
Leverages engineering & construction and logistics & transportation industries to bring expertise and resources to assist disaster relief organizations
New York - The World Economic Forum announced today the creation of a Disaster Response Network (DRN) to leverage the resources of engineering and transportation industry firms to assist with disaster relief efforts. Under the auspices of the World Economic Forum, this non-profit network will recruit and coordinate corporate commitments of services and materials to assist in the initial response to disasters.
"This unprecedented move to create a Disaster Response Network comprised of engineering and transportation companies promises to strengthen the effectiveness of the global business community's contributions during the immediate aftermath of disasters," said Professor Klaus Schwab, President of the Forum. "Having an established commitment from prominent engineering and transportation firms demonstrates the truest example of corporate citizenship and makes utmost sense since these industries form the backbone of skills needed in expediting rescue and recovery efforts." In addition to representation from member firms in these two industries, both the International Federation of Red Cross and the United Nations are leaders in the formation of the Founding Committee that is structuring the vision for the DRN.
The Disaster Response Network is focused on both quick identification of available engineering and transportation services and fast and reliable delivery of these services to disaster-struck sites. Robert Prieto, Chairman of Parsons Brinckerhoff and Co-Chair of the DRN Founding Committee, explained, "The Disaster Response Network will develop and maintain a roster of committed firms and resources and act as a clearinghouse to match particular resources needed in the event of a disaster with the Network's participating companies." Prieto added, "This enables those of us in the engineering and transportation sectors to offer a central point of contact and to quickly and efficiently respond to relief organizations' requests for support."
"We want to be sure that all organizations actively engaged in disaster relief have access to the best practices and tools in engineering and transportation to reduce the time to route rescue equipment and specialized services to relief teams, and medical supplies and food to victims. Having one place to access these resources saves time. Every hour saved, means more lives saved," said Lynn C. Fritz, Director-General of Fritz Institute and Co-Chair of the DRN Founding Committee.
According to the DRN Charter, one of the keys to the reliability of the DRN will be the preparedness of the volunteers, their ability to work in teams and understand the disaster environment. The DRN will match the volunteer employees of participating companies with qualified providers of disaster preparedness training.
"The Disaster Response Network will be a valuable resource for the array of humanitarian and international organizations that currently support disaster relief efforts. We in the humanitarian community welcome the creation of the Disaster Response Network," said Didier Cherpitel, Secretary-General of the International Federation for Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and member of the DRN Founding Committee.
It is anticipated that in the future the Disaster Response Network will become an independent non-profit organization.
The World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org), based in Geneva, Switzerland, is an independent organization committed to improving the state of the world. Funded by the contributions of 1,000 of the world's foremost corporations, the Forum acts in the spirit of entrepreneurship in the global public interest to further economic growth and social progress. The Forum serves its members and society by creating partnerships between and among business, political, intellectual and other leaders of society to define, discuss and advance key issues on the global agenda.
Incorporated in 1971 as a foundation, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit, and is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. In 1995 the Forum was awarded NGO consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.