2.5. Private sector

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The private sector is becoming an increasingly important partner in the field of disaster risk reduction and humanitarian aid. Establishing partnerships with the business community or with private sector foundations or individuals can benefit both development and humanitarian aid. Developing strong partnerships takes time and effort and the most successful relationships are those in which both partners fill pre-existing gaps or bring complementary skills to the situation.

The private sector often offers its expertise to NGOs and the UN system. Corporations are increasingly interested in going beyond merely funding humanitarian organizations to forging closer collaboration with the humanitarian sector. This requires finding innovative ways to develop corporate partnerships that respond to both parties’ needs, and have a longer duration.

The contribution of the private sector in disasters and emergency situations, while perhaps not as high in overall monetary terms as other actors, nonetheless has grown significantly in recent years. However, a study by the U.K.’s Overseas Development Institute (ODI) shows that humanitarian assistance does not rank as high on the agenda of the private sector (and by private sector they include funding that flows from private individuals, corporations and charitable foundations to international humanitarian action) when compared to other issues, such as education. This leaves room to step up efforts to engage the private sector in collaborative ventures.

However, companies may be becoming more engaged in humanitarian responses. The case studies showed that the financial contributions of corporations varied, ranging from the very small to the very large (in the tens of millions of dollars). Most donors provide cash and the bulk of in-kind donations are accounted for by a small number of corporations. Indeed, the largest grants in terms of value included very substantial in-kind elements. Overall, corporate spending was not closely related to gross revenue figures, and contributions were small relative to these.


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