Humanitarian crises flare up somewhere in the world practically on a daily basis. In order to tackle these more effectively, the UN set up the "Connecting Business initiative" (CBi) in 2016 in countries which are repeatedly confronted by crises. Networks of businesses receive training to prepare them for an effective and swift response in the event of a disaster.Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo has supported the initiative with €270,000.
On 23 and 24 May 2016, the first World Humanitarian Summit was held in Istanbul. During this summit, humanitarian actors explored solutions to prevent crises, and to provide a better reponse. The Connecting Business initiative was one of the solutions which saw the light of day.
With assistance from the CBi, businesses in Madagascar were able to build up a network which supplied water, food and sanitary facilities to the victims.
Storm in Madagascar
The CBi helps companies in the same country to set up a network in order to be better prepared together against various kinds of disasters. For example, Madagascar was recently affected by a tropical storm. With assistance from the CBi, businesses in Madagascar were able to build up a network which supplied water, food and sanitary facilities to the victims. In the event of disasters, the people affected often no longer have the possibility of alerting their relatives. Networks of companies from the telecoms sectors can then offer assistance quickly and effectively.
The example of Madagascar demonstrates the importance of the CBi at the local level. The victims of the tropical storm did not need to wait for international humanitarian aid, which often materialises too slowly, in order to meet the immediate needs. For people in danger, every second counts! A network of businesses which is ready to act in an emergency situation can make all the difference and save countless human lives.
Ideally, every country will have their own network in the future.
Belgium provides support
The Connecting Business initiative currently supports 11 business networks around the world: in Madagascar, Fiji, Haiti, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Ivory Coast. The CBi would like to gradually increase the number of networks. Ideally, every country will have their own network in the future. This would enable much more effective assistance in the event of disasters, and save a lot of suffering as a result. Minister Alexander De Croo has set aside €270,000 to support the initiative.
Marina Skuric-Prodanovic, head of the private sector department of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) explains: 'For the first time, we want to set up a network in which not only businesses, but also the United Nations and the humanitarian community, are involved. Belgium was one of the first countries to recognise the importance of the Connecting Business initiative. Your country plays a very important role in this respect, and in the meantime sits in the executive committee of the CBi.'