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Humanitarian crises, emergency preparedness and response: The roles of business and the private sector – final report and case studies from Indonesia, Kenya, Jordan and Haiti

2014 — By Steven A. Zyck and Randolph Kent

The private sector has long been a major contributor to humanitarian action. At the community level, businesses frequently use their materials and resources to aid people affected by crises. As local markets recover and supply chains are repaired, crisis-affected people are once again able to access basic goods and, in some cases, resume livelihoods. Large national, regional and multinational firms are also closely involved in supporting humanitarian objectives, whether indirectly, by resuming operations in crisis affected areas, or directly, by providing cash and in-kind donations of goods or services. In recent years the humanitarian community has introduced new forms of private sector engagement, including partnerships between aid agencies and corporations and business driven innovation in a number of sectors.

This report outlines the findings of a study on ‘Humanitarian crises, emergency preparedness and response: the roles of business and the private sector’, undertaken by the Humanitarian Policy Group at the Overseas Development Institute, the Humanitarian Futures Programme at King’s College London, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Vantage Partners, with financial support from the UK Department for International Development. The nine-month study involved original research in Kenya, Jordan, Indonesia and Haiti and additional in-person and online consultations with leading humanitarian and private sector specialists. The entire study, including a March 2014 workshop, aimed to capture not only the private sector’s current role in humanitarian action, but also the role it might play alongside governments and aid agencies as the nature of vulnerability and crises evolves in the future.

Case Studies and Additional Links: