Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL Group) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) celebrate a decade of successful Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) Program. A trained team and a customized surge response plan is vital when a disaster strikes – that’s why the world’s leading logistics company DPDHL Group and the UNDP team up with airports and conduct GARD workshops. Over the years, GARD has developed constantly and has made a lasting impact on the humanitarian community. This is the result of hard work and a great public private collaboration. Many volunteers and partners have played an important role and prepared over 45 airports and personnel on disaster preparedness in 23 countries.
GARD is the result of experiences gained from supporting logistics at airports in the wake of disasters. For experts both at UNDP and DPDHL Group it became increasingly clear that disaster response is more effective if airports are well prepared for these situations. “As a global logistics company we have the resources, skills and networks that can save lives after natural disasters,” explains Chris Weeks, DPDHL Director for Humanitarian Affairs. “We can show airports how to prepare for the surge of incoming response teams and relief goods.”
DPDHL Group and UNDP are great partners for the Get Airports Ready for Disaster program. They jointly set up multi-day workshops that bring together numerous stakeholders at airports in high risk areas. “Those facing development challenges often lack the vision to join forces together and make the best use of individual strengths,” explains Patrick Gremillet, Partnership Advisor Disaster Risk Reduction at UNDP. “Combining our capabilities in strong partnerships harbors enormous potential to solve complex problems.”
Over the years, DPDHL Group and UNDP have learned a lot and have continuously refined the approach. For example, they have taken steps to ensure the sustainability of GARD: In 2012, the GARD plus format was introduced. This is basically a refresher course that ideally takes place within 6 months of the initial workshop. The latest example for scaling up is the Train the Facilitator GARD workshop. Airport operations experts gather for a five-day training to learn how to make their airports disaster-ready, and to become national trainers for GARD workshops. So far, 45 airports in 23 countries around the world have been prepared. Among these countries are: Armenia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, India, Mauritius, Nepal, Panama, and the Philippines.
“Looking back we are proud to see what we have achieved. GARD workshops have been held at more than 45 airports in 23 countries around the globe. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary we discuss how we can continuously improve the program. We look forward to continuing our partnership,” explains Ralf Dürrwang, Vice President Corporate Citizenship at Deutsche Post DHL Group. “Going forward, I also hope that our successful example will inspire even more companies to enter into such public private partnerships themselves. Because the more we manage to combine our strengths, the more can we make the world a better place.”