CEMEX’s Engagement with Disaster Risk Reduction in Central America
CEMEX’s Engagement with Disaster Risk Reduction in Central America
South-South Private Sector Partnership


Global recognition of the effects that climate change and disasters will have on economic growth, community well-being, and the financial and economic systems is growing rapidly. For businesses, large and small, to survive and even thrive in this environment, they need to adapt quickly and prepare ahead. The current COVID-19 pandemic created an additional layer of pressure and disruptions stemming from a biological hazard, underlining the pressing need for societies to become more prepared and capable to deal with disasters.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 2015-2030 puts emphasis in risk management, putting behind a paradigm that dealt only with the moment of disasters, to highlight the importance of reducing existing risks, preventing new ones and strengthening resilience. The Sendai Framework also highlights the pressing need for all-of-society and all-of-State institutions engagement, recognizes a broad range of relevant stakeholders and highlights the importance of building platforms, strengthening international cooperation and global partnerships. The Sendai Framework highlights the importance of South-South and Triangular Cooperation as a tool to harness the full potential of countries and supporting their national capacities in disaster risk management and to improve the social, health and economic well-being of individuals, communities and countries.
In particular, the Sendai Framework for DRR calls the private sector to integrate DRR into their management practices, especially in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), who are often the most vulnerable to threats and hardest-hit by disasters. The private sector is called to engage fully with global DRR efforts, including:
  • Awareness-raising and training for employees and customers;
  • Engagement in and support for research and innovation, as well as technological development for DRR;
  •  Knowledge-sharing;
  • Active participation, as appropriate and under the guidance of the public sector, in the development of normative frameworks and technical standards that incorporate disaster risk management.

Towards a Solution

The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) approach to DRR considers the impacts of conflict and disasters on businesses as a part of a larger disruption on jobs and livelihoods with long lasting impacts on the economy, the capacity for development of countries, on generations of children and young people, on governance and rights and on institutions.
Through its Recommendation 205, adopted in 2017, the ILO emphasized the importance of full, productive, freely chosen employment and decent work to promote peace, preventing crisis situations arising from conflicts and disasters, enabling recovery and building resilience. The ILO has also highlighted the role of the private sector in sustainable development, including micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, to ensure growth, investment and the creation of decent and productive employment, as well as the importance of maximizing the development potential of the private sector and promoting an enabling environment for sustainable and resilient enterprises.

CEMEX is a Mexican multinational building materials company with activities in over 50 countries across the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. CEMEX engages with multiple sustainability-related programmes and initiatives, and in 2015 it became a founding member of ARISE, a private sector initiative led by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) whose members voluntarily commit to align with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. ARISE is a key mechanism for collaboration in DRR, currently joining efforts of over 280 private companies in Mexico and Costa Rica to strengthen strategies for Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management (CDRM) across the private sector.

Engaging with the Global Council of the initiative, CEMEX participates in formulating global strategies in DRR and was part of the pilot implementation of a national ARISE network in Mexico, to be adapted in other countries in Central America and the Caribbean. Working as a network with other companies at the national and international level, as well as multi-sector coordination (including the public sector) allows the private sector to have access to a large pool of good practices in CDRM, leading to more assertive DRR investments with fewer resources and greater impact. Key results include:

  • Workshops for the elaboration of Business Plans for DRR with UNDRR, having trained 67 representatives from the private sector
  • Informative meetings of the network with the attention of representatives of 179 companies.
  • 51 companies in the process of becoming members
  • Establishment of a multi-sector Board of Directors with:
    • 15 representatives of the most strategic institutions at the national level
    • A Technical Council with specialists advising the Board of Directors
    • One permanent observer from the United Nations
    • Direct Coordination with the Federal Government, identifying ARISE Mexico as the strategic ally for coordination with the Private Sector in CDRM.
  • High level ARISE MX educational Forum held in October 2019
  • Creation of the ARISE MX Award for social innovation in CDRM within the business sector.
  • Engagement with the proposition of a new General Law for CDRM (formerly Civil Protection), including the private sector under the concept of responsibilities and incentives.
  • Communication strategy through CEMEX’s own channels to disseminate knowledge.

As voluntary network, with common benefits and individual impact, the practice is highly adaptable to other contexts. It is crucial to align strategic alliances with business models and partner companies’ missions and objectives. Moreover, a through adaption requires taking into consideration the differences in risks and mitigation strategies in different countries.

In addition to ARISE, CEMEX has also engaged through its Resilience and Urban Transformation Advisor with the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITC/ILO) training programme on Local Development and Disaster Risk Reduction in 2019. Based on a peer-learning methodology, the programme connects DRR and local development practitioners of public and private institutions, discussing strategies of disaster risk reduction as a vehicle for decent work, economic growth and sustainable development. Participants take part in building a community of practice, sharing knowledge and experiences for promoting DRR and the Decent Work Agenda through South-South and Triangular Cooperation methodologies. Through the programme, CEMEX has shared its experience and knowledge through the ITC/ILO Collection of SSTC Good Practices for DRR and Decent Work, the ILO’s South-South Meeting Point thematic space for DRR and Fragile-to-Fragile cooperation and communication channels.

Contact Information

Ms Elisa Trujillo, Director General, ARISE Mexico | Ms Maria José Mallo, Programme Officer, International Training Center of the International Labour Organization

Countries involved


Supported by

CEMEX and International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITC/ILO)

Implementing Entities

CEMEX, ARISE, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), ITC-ILO, ILO Partnerships and Field Support Department (ILO/PARDEV)

Project Status


Project Period


Primary SD

08 - Decent Work and Economic Growth

Secondary SDGs

11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

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