Private sector actors

In retrospect, it is difficult to comprehend the historical separation of the private sector from the humanitarian system, and the current trend is towards greater attention to and development of private sector engagement. To begin with, the private sector encompasses local and international firms that are often well-placed to contribute to relief efforts directly, given their existing resources within crisis countries (staff, equipment, expertise, technology, political leverage). The private sector also holds expertise that can be adapted to humanitarian ends, such as in transport, logistics or telecommunications; and plays a critical role in the development of more effective vaccines, shelter, water systems, etc. Importantly, just as with local people, the private sector is profoundly (but differently) affected by crisis, and has a direct interest in addressing the needs that emerge, and in helping the economy to recover.

Staff packing a shipment in front of an airplane getting ready

Photo: Deutsche Post DHL

Key actors

Crisis response

Mechanism for the private sector to engage with the United Nations system, national governments, and civil society in a coordinated manner on crisis risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response, and recovery

Private security

Part of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), initiative supporting multistakeholder approaches in security governance through effective cooperation and innovative partnerships between national authorities, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector

Initiative to promote the responsible provision of security services and respect for human rights and national and international law

Key references

Brief overview of how private sector actors engages in emergencies

Outlining the rationales and recommendations identified by private sector actors for other businesses, governments, and humanitarian organizations

Study exploring how platforms, networks and alliances support the private sector’s engagement in humanitarian action.

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