New global private sector alliance launched to address priority humanitarian challenges
Being in Davos during the World Economic Forum Annual meeting always leaves one with a memorable moment. This was my eighth year working to promote collaboration on global risks or humanitarian action and my 2019 moment was easily the best.
Through my company Alliance4Impact, I am proud to have supported the creation and implementation of what could be a massive boost to humanitarian action across the world, the Agenda for Humanity and the Sustainable Development Goals. I had formed an idea for when I rejoined the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) under the then leadership of Baroness Valerie Amos. Her support and encouragement in 2014 kept me energised and focussed until now. Even back then we realised how difficult it would be to make it happen, but also how important a contribution the initiative could be.
This year, a group of CEOs from multinational companies attending the 2019 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos agreed to collaborate with each other in a new and unique initiative. They committed to deliver practical support for the United Nations in its efforts to help the most vulnerable people affected by humanitarian crises. The collective action of this group, and their networks could have an immensely positive and long-term impact.
The group agreed to launch an Alliance, that would begin to collaborate immediately, and to bring in other partners as needed to address priority humanitarian challenges. They also agreed to formally establish the Global Humanitarian Action Executive Alliance (GHAEA) in the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2019.
The alliance, currently includes the senior executives of Ericsson, GlaxoSmithKline, the GSMA, Henry Schein, Mastercard, Salesforce.org, Qatar Financial Centre, UPS Foundation and Willis Towers Watson.
The CEOs met with heads of the United Nations the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UNICEF, UNHCR, the World Food Programme (WFP), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in an unprecedented move to explore collaborative models for more effective, principled private sector engagement in emergency preparedness and response and to effectively engage collective expertise, knowledge and resources.
Although the informal Alliance is owned by its members, it will continuously work hand in hand in support of the UN Agencies to ensure that needs of the most vulnerable people are met in a timely, effective and principled manner.
The meeting was convened and chaired by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Humanitarian Envoy, Dr. Ahmed Al Meraikhi with support from the State of Qatar and my company Alliance4Impact.
Dr. Al Meraikhi said: “We are all in this together. The 2030 Agenda, with its 17 SDGs, is universal and it calls for action to ensure no one is left behind. This means mobilizing all resources – technology development, financial resources, capacity building – and dynamic multi-stakeholder partnerships to deliver effectiveness and impact. The Global Humanitarian Action Executive Alliance shows the commitment from the private sector and the UN to come together and address the 135million in need of lifesaving assistance.”
The humanitarian world is beginning to truly recognise that the private sector is a fundamental component of local and international communities, and that it has a major stake in the impact of humanitarian crises. This is an excellent example of how people from different sectors can come together to address needs of common interest. The dedication and experience of these companies can only add value to the important work of humanitarian organisations, and contribute to societies resilience.
I am truly excited to see the impact the Alliance members will deliver. There is no doubt that they have the experience, expertise, enthusiasm, and resources to make a significant difference. I also look forward to being a part of that future in whatever way I can help.