Conflicts drive the majority of humanitarian needs. At the same time, the World Bank estimates that as many as two thirds of the world’s extreme poor will live in areas characterized by fragility, conflict and violence by 2030. Furthermore, according to the Overseas Development Institute, only 18% of fragile and conflict-affected states are on track to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets related to unmet basic needs. The COVID-19 pandemic is further increasing pressures, threatening to reverse years of development gains.
The interplay between natural hazards, conflict and fragility – and now also the ongoing pandemic – make the context in some countries particularly complex. Layered situations such as a typhoon occurring in a region hosting refugees in temporary shelters or conflict intensifying in areas struggling to stop the spread of COVID-19 make for challenging environments in which to operate. Any initiative or program carried out will need to factor in these different issues and be tailored to specific circumstances. Although humanitarian and development organizations are becoming more effective and efficient, rising needs require action of all stakeholders and the private sector can support efforts in building more robust and resilient systems for preventing and responding to crises.
Businesses have networks, expertise and resources. Hence effective collaboration and coordination mechanisms between the public and the private sectors could strengthen the support provided to affected populations. Country-level private sector collective action platforms like CBi Member Networks provide a clear entry point for companies to engage, including in fragile situations and conflict-affected areas.
By the beginning of 2019, armed conflicts and persecution had
driven a record number of nearly 71 million people from their homes.
(2020 Global Humanitarian Overview)
Between 2017 and 2019, CBi explored how private sector platforms like CBi Member Networks can engage local companies in manmade disaster contexts. With funding from the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), CBi and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) developed a guidance toolkit that was piloted by CBi Member Networks in Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya and Turkey.
In 2020 and beyond, the scope of CBi’s work will expand from manmade disasters to look at fragile situations and conflict-affected areas more broadly. Particular focus will be on the confluence of crises – how the private sector can engage in disaster management in fragile situations and/or conflict-affected areas that are also affected by natural hazards, disease outbreaks and other crises.
To that end, CBi will continue implementing the guidance toolkit, supporting private sector networks in conducting country-specific landscape assessments, recognizing societal needs and identifying priority areas for their work.
A High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement was established by the UN Secretary-General to find concrete solutions to internal displacement. The private sector can also share insights on how they are supporting internally displaced people. Read more here.