The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is hosting a side event at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, entitled Public-private Partnerships for Resilience and Localized Response. To attend the side event, you must be registered to attend the Summit. The event will profile the efforts of businesses in disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. For a full listing of side events at the Summit, go here.
The Opportunity and the Challenge
Trends suggest that the frequency, severity and duration of conflict, natural disasters, displacement, epidemics and other crises are likely to increase into the 21st century. The United Nations, governments, and civil society must work together with businesses, both global and local, to create more resilient communities and increase local capacity to prepare for, respond to and recover from these crises.
Businesses are not only providers of cash, goods or services but they have a wealth of expertise, core skills and competencies that can be leveraged to support humanitarian need. Business needs stable economic markets, good governance and strong institutions, healthy and secure communities, and consumers who can purchase their products and services. Businesses have increasingly found that international disaster resilience contributes to more stable and sustainable markets, with 83% of business reporting this to be the case. By leveraging this business rationale for engagement, public and private sectors can collaborate to support disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery.
When communities are better prepared and more resilient, the humanitarian impacts of emergencies are lessened and fewer resources are expended when an emergency occurs. Increased resilience allows communities to rebuild and resume economic growth faster. The private sector, and especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), play a key economic role in post-disaster economic recovery by guaranteeing income and employment for the majority of people. This helps safeguard livelihoods, limit negative socio-economic impacts and reduce the humanitarian caseload. International organizations, governments, civil society and large businesses need to find ways to effectively engage with and support SMEs before, during and after emergencies. These efforts also need to occur in a coordinated and coherent manner, based on best practice.
There are a number of instances globally where businesses, international organizations, governments and civil society have come together to create networks for resilience, response and recovery. These networks have proved to be effective structures to build coalitions, engage businesses, particularly SMEs, in disaster risk reduction and disaster management, pre-position agreements for emergency response coordination, share information, match private sector capacities with humanitarian needs and coordinate response and recovery efforts when emergencies occur.
The Connecting Business initiative, a multi-stakeholder initiative led by UNISDR, UNOCHA and UNDP, is supporting the strengthening, replication and scaling of business networks for disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery. The initiative will also operate a global portal to facilitate communication and information sharing between business networks, and connect those networks to governments, civil society, international organizations and the global business community. The initiative will also support local businesses to build their capacity and resilience, by providing access to resources on disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery, and delivering training and other programs to business networks.
This session will profile the efforts of businesses and existing business networks in disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery. It will profile existing initiatives to increase business capacity in disaster risk reduction and management, strengthen business resilience and increase business capacity to respond to and recovery from emergencies. The experiences of business networks in the Philippines, Madagascar, Myanmar, Fiji, Turkey, Kenya, Nigeria and Haiti will be explored, and connected to global efforts to mobilize and support the private sector. It will examine opportunities to strengthen these efforts and overcome existing challenges by strengthening, replicating and scaling business networks and supporting initiatives in high priority countries and regions.
Commitments will be sought from participants in the session to support, sponsor, create and participate in business networks for disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery. Commitments will also be sought to scale and replicate efforts to increase business capacity and resilience.
 Business in the Community: International Disaster Relief - Business’ Unique Contribution.