Less than one percent of humanitarian aid is focused on investing in innovation and ways to improve the delivery of aid services. But with the humanitarian ecosystem expanding to include non-traditional actors like the private sector, there is potential for learning and cross-fertilization. The aid community is increasingly taking advantage of technologies such as cash transfers or the use of drones to assess needs and monitor changes in affected areas. Yet the role of the private sector in humanitarian innovation extends beyond providing technology. In fact, the humanitarian community can identify, adapt and scale private sector solutions in the form of products, services, concepts, processes or even wider business models.
Several CBi Member Networks have also started to pilot innovative approaches and technologies. For example, the Member Network in the Philippines, the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, launched the world’s first private sector–operated Emergency Operations Centre. The Mexico network, led by the Centro Nacional de Apoyo para Contingencias Epidemiológicas (CENACED), developed a mobile application for matching disaster recovery needs with monetary and in-kind support as well as volunteers. The Sri Lanka network, led by the Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management, Sri Lanka (APAD-SL), worked with a local taxi hailing mobile application called PickMe to incorporate an SOS feature for rescuing stranded people.
In 2018, CBi will further disseminate information on the following: existing innovative solutions and how the private sector can further support national systems; how technology, such as blockchain, can support private sector systems to improve resilience; and how the use of artificial intelligence and big data tools for hazard predictions can improve prevention, preparedness and early warning systems.
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Photo: UNDP Maldives and DJI