Connecting People and the Private Sector


The World Humanitarian Summit was a first-of-its-kind gathering with ambitions to put humanity at the heart of global decision-making. Stakeholders, agencies and influencers from around the world attended the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, to deliver on policies, share lessons learned, and discuss how to better respond to global threats and natural disaster. Safety, secure livelihoods, voice and dignity were high on the agenda. This, many agree, can only be done through collaboration and improving partnerships.

At this pivotal moment, Devex, along with its partners Deloitte, Ericsson, the United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, have come together for #ShareHumanity — an online conversation to explore the role the private sector plays in humanitarian relief efforts. This dialogue will examine transformative solutions for improved humanitarian responses, private sector engagement for emergency preparedness and response and innovative ways to invest in humanity, both now and in the future.

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Hear from the experts and add your voice to the conversation.


Coming of age for humanitarians and the private sector

By Stephen O'Brien

With the scale of suffering fast outpacing the ability of the international community to adequately respond, there is a growing need for innovative partnerships with the private sector in not only emergency response, but also risk reduction, preparedness and longer-term recovery.


Find your sherpa: Bolster humanitarian crisis response

By Sally Stansfield, David Cogswell, Achal Patel

As many companies look to deepen involvement in global crisis response, the challenge now falls to the business community to similarly embrace this lesson. Companies like Deloitte are finding that calling upon their local partners can strengthen their humanitarian efforts. With more crises layering economic, political and social factors, local knowledge is only becoming more critical.

 Deloitte humanitarian

A 35,000 foot view of a wicked opportunity

By Anesa Parker, Sahil Joshi, Rachel Webb

Modern-day slavery is a truly wicked problem: a complex, dynamic, and seemingly intractable crises. In this guest column, Deloitte Consulting LLP's Anesa Parker, Sahil Joshi and Rachel Webb write about how governments and good will cannot solve modern slavery alone, and the private sector has an important role to play.


A long-term approach to support communities in conflict zones

By Helen Morgan

In an exclusive video interview, Izumi Nakamitsu, U.N. assistant secretary-general and UNDP assistant administrator, Crisis Response Unit spoke with Devex’s Global Advisory and Analysis Director Pete Troilo to make the case for innovative private sector engagement and how this could turn into a win-win situation.


Unlocking the full potential of the private sector in humanitarian response

By Naomi Mihara

The role of the private sector in emergency preparedness and humanitarian response was one of the major topics up for discussion at May’s World Humanitarian Summit. According to Dr. Sally Stansfield, a director in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s social impact practice, the private sector is beginning to fulfil its potential in this area. Watch the full interview to learn more.


Humanitarian action makes sound business sense

By Marcos Neto

With the overwhelming challenges facing the world right now, it’s time to fully endorse the role of the private sector and philanthropy in humanitarian action. The potential involvement and impact by the private sector and philanthropic foundations is significant, and we have no other option that to try to enable the private sector, U.N. agencies, governments and civil society to work better together.

Changing Discourse

Changing the discourse on humanitarian innovations and partnerships

By Benjamin Kumpf

Data innovation needs to provide communities, individuals, and governments with the means to trigger change. But how can new data sources and real-time information systems improve decision-making? The U.N. Development Program and its partners, UNICEF, the World Food Program and Data-Pop Alliance, all asked this question and looked for answers at the World Humanitarian Summit.

Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker: Work together as a unit to resolve global problems

By Helen Morgan

Forest Whitaker, social activist, United Nations envoy and Oscar-winning actor, discusses the ecosystem of partnerships that has helped him build the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative, in this exclusive Devex interview at the World Humanitarian Summit.

Private Sector

Where is the private sector in humanitarian response?

By Adva Saldinger

The number and breadth of businesses involved in humanitarian relief is growing, following a similar boom in private sector engagement with development aid. Yet the pace of change is slow, and a host of barriers stand in the way. Private sector partners say they are ready to play their part — if they are treated as equals, and not like ATMs. They want to leverage their unique skills and networks and follow results-driven work plans. They often need help navigating the United Nations bureaucracy.

Partnerships in Humanitarian Response

The importance of partnerships in humanitarian response

By Momodu Kargbo

What role do technological innovations play in emergencies? Momodu L. Kargbo, Sierra Leone's minister of finance and economic development, discusses how governments should work with the private sector and international organizations to put in place the digital payment infrastructure that is needed before the next emergency strikes.

IRC Chief

IRC chief: No summit success until it changes life on the ground

By Naomi Mihara

International Rescue Committee’s President and CEO David Miliband is a vocal critic of the way the humanitarian sector currently works. In an exclusive interview during May's World Humanitarian Summit, Devex President and Editor-in-Chief Raj Kumar quizzed the IRC chief on his priority areas for reform.

Moving PPPs

Moving PPPs beyond 'business as usual'

By Naomi Mihara

Should the private sector play a role in emergency preparedness and humanitarian response? Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, vice president of sustainability and corporate responsibility at Ericsson, believes companies have much more to offer than just philanthropy.

From Our Partners

From Our Partners

Learn about our partner's work to grow private sector involvement in humanitarian aid.

#AskUNDP with Izumi Nakamitsu

UNDP sat down with Izumi Nakamitsu, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Assistant Administrator of UNDP, to discuss her vision for the summit and how the international community needs to "invest in humanity."


Committed to the UN’s connecting business initiative

The future of humanitarian assistance needs to be about creating a new generation of public private partnerships that can leverage on the strengths of both partners, while delivering on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. For 15 years, Ericsson has been working to transform humanitarian response with technology with initiatives like Connecting Business, which works with local networks to fill the vital gaps in emergency preparedness and response.


125 M people face impossible choices every day. Which would you choose?

Choices are made every day, by over 100 million people everyone affected by crises and natural disaster. Do you flee your home to escape civil war, leaving behind everything you know and love? With airstrikes imminent, what do you choose to save and what do you leave behind? Our leaders have only one choice: Humanity.


Why supporting humanitarian aid makes business sense

Is there a business case for corporate involvement in humanitarian crises? The growing trust between humanitarian organizations and companies has increased the popularity of sustained partnerships. And, as partnerships with humanitarian organizations blossom, the desire to widen the circle of collaborators and learn from others’ efforts leads to knowledge networks. Over 30 experts weigh in.

What role does the private sector have in #ShareHumanity? @devex series explores @Deloitte @ericsson @UNDP @UNOCHATweet
The private sector is critical to reforming humanitarian aid. Here's why: @Deloitte @ericsson @UNDP @UNOCHATweet
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How can the private sector best engage in humanitarian crises? Follow the new #ShareHumanity series on Devex: on LinkedIn

Photo Credits

About section: UNDP built a new police station in Hargeisa's Ahmed Haruun district in Somalia. The ‘model’ station emphasizes close links between communities and police to better tackle insecurity and prevent crime. Photo: UNDP Somalia.

Nepal: Women involved in a UNDP cash-for- work programme after the 2016 Nepal earthquakes. Photo: UNDP Nepal.