Geneva, 16 May 2022 – Private sector representatives from 14 countries gathered at the eighth Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Weeks (HNPW) to share experiences and best practices on the role of local businesses in preparing, responding and recovering from of disasters. Nearly two dozen business leaders, members of the OCHA / UNDP Connecting Business initiative (CBi), met in person for the first time in two years at the annual humanitarian conference organized by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ( OCHA) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, at the International Conference Center Geneva (CICG).
Combating the climate crisis and localizing the humanitarian response, both of the nine areas of HNPW common concern, were recognized by CBi partners and Member Networks as important issues where local businesses can help make a difference in lives. of mankind.
“Humanitarian action is more about uniting people. When a disaster comes, the first to respond are the local communities, the local businesses. For OCHA, the private sector is one of our most important partners to collectively respond better and faster,“ said Edem Wosornu, Chief of OCHA’s Response Support Branch.
At CBi’s public event on localization, “Act local, think global: humanitarian action and the private sector”, representatives from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Alliance for Risk Management and Business Continuity (AGERCA, Haiti), the Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management Sri Lanka (A-PAD SL), and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), insisted on the need to channel more humanitarian fund to local businesses.
“COVID-19 brings a new sense of urgency to the need to support local and national actors. If countries are locked down, in many cases there are local actors to provide assistance“ explained Marcos Neto, Director of the Sustainable Finance Hub at UNDP. “But local businesses need support, they need to be involved in humanitarian response decision -making processes, and they have ways to deliver assistance in accordance with humanitarian principles.“
CBi also hosted a public session on the climate crisis, “Feeling the Heat, how local businesses respond to climate emergencies”, highlighting examples of climate action from Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council (FBDRC) the Turkish Enterprise and Business Confederation (TÜRKONFED), The Madagascar Private Sector Humanitarian Platform (PSHP), and UNICEF.
Jemilah Mahmood from the Sunway Center for Planetary Health urged local businesses to get involved in protecting the health of the planet: “Trust is key. Businesses are most reliable and have the capacity to push political will. With that trust, comes responsibility and power.“
HNPW discussions are still ongoing, with more than 6,000 participants from United Nations agencies to non-government organizations (NGOs), academia and the private sector working on important topics in the humanitarian field today and how good collaboration to address this.
CBi will hold a final online public session on Wednesday 18 May, “Acting before crises: anticipatory action and the private sector”, in partnership with the International Federation for the Red Cross (IFRC) and the Anticipation Hub, focusing on the role of how businesses can support the ongoing transition to a more effective, efficient, and dignified humanitarian response through anticipatory action.
CBi Member Networks and business leaders represented by HNPW include: Private Sector Humanitarian Platform of Côte d’Ivoire (PHSP Côte d’Ivoire), Fiji Business Disaster Resilience Council (FBDRC), Alliance for Risk Management and Business Continuity ( AGERCA, Haiti), The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN), Madagascar Private Sector Humanitarian Platform (PSHP), Centro Nacional de Apoyo para Contingencias Epidemiologicas y Desastres (CENACED, Mexico), The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), Asia -Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management Sri Lanka (A-PAD SL), The Turkish Enterprise and Business Confederation (TÜRKONFED), The Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). Future networks were also represented, including the Consejo Hondureño de la Empresa Privada (COHEP, Honduras), Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and Hombro a Hombro (Peru).
A joint initiative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the CBi supports private sector engagement before, during and after disasters. Since CBi’s launch in 2016, its Member Networks have responded to more than 100 crises and helped nearly 18 million people. Read more in the 2021 CBi Annual Report.
For more information about the Connecting Business initiative, visit connectingbusiness.org.
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