Connecting Business initiative

engaging the private sector in disaster preparedness, response and recovery

Connecting Business initiative (CBi) engages the private sector strategically before, during and after emergencies, increasing the scale and effectiveness of the response and recovery in a coordinated manner.

While governments maintain the overall responsibility for responding to humanitarian emergencies, local communities and private sector networks also play crucial roles in disaster preparedness, response and recovery. The Connecting Business initiative strengthens and supports those private sector networks.

In 2020, the initiative supported 17 private sector networks around the world in strategically engaging the private sector in disaster management. These networks reached a combined membership of 4,100 companies and they have access to more than 40,000 micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises(MSMEs) All CBi Member Networks responded to COVID-19 and, in addition, nine networks responded 19 other emergencies, including conflict, drought, earthquakes, fire, floodings, tropical storms and a volcanic eruption. In addition, networks worked on disaster preparedness and resilience. They reached 15.5 million people through crisis response activities and raised US$42.2 million.

The Connecting Business initiative was launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016 and it takes forward the  Summit outcomes, as well as the 2030 Development Agenda and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

CBi's Vision and Mission


CBi activities

  • Providing a clear entry point for the private sector to engage in disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery.
  • Mobilizing and connecting partners.
  • Supporting the creation and strengthening of private sector-led networks for disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery.
  • Connecting private sector networks at the sub-national, national and regional levels, and among industry and thematic groups, to each other and other actors.
  • Integrating the private sector in resilience programs and national disaster management structures.
  • Matching private sector capacities and resources to humanitarian needs through local networks.
  • Producing tools and delivering programs to build the resilience of businesses and their communities.
  • Developing and disseminating good practice on private sector engagement.
  • Facilitating policy engagement.


Level of support provided


CBi is a private sector driven and UN-supported initiative. Operational and technical support is provided by the United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs with a Secretariat based in Geneva.

CBi Executive Committee members include:

  • Xavier Castellanos Mosquera, Under Secretary General, National Society Development and Operations Coordination, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)  
  • Nicole “Nikki” Clifton, President, UPS Foundation 
  • Firzan “Hush” Hashim, Country Director of the Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management Sri Lanka (A-PAD Sri Lanka) CBi Member Network representative (incoming) 
  • Lila Karbassi, Chief, Programmes, UN Global Compact  
  • Shaheen Kassim-Lakha, Director, Strategic Partnerships, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation 
  • Marcos Neto, Director, Finance Sector Hub, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 
  • Douglas Stropes, Deputy Division Director, and Emmanuel Nouga-Ngog, Private Sector and Diaspora Advisor, Humanitarian Policy & Global Engagement Division, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) 
  • David Young, Senior Partner and Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group

Key Publications

CBi Progress Report 2019

08 Apr 2020 •
Connecting Business initiative Secretariat

UN Business Guide on COVID-19

09 Jun 2020 •
Connecting Business initiative Secretariat

Head photo: Glen Craig