The Connecting Business Initiative (CBI) is a multi-stakeholder initiative that provides a mechanism for the private sector to engage with the United Nations system, national governments and civil society in a coordinated manner on crisis risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery.
With the scale of need fast outpacing the ability of traditional actors to respond, the necessity for coordinated and more holistic approaches to engage the private sector in disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery is increasing. The potential for the business sector to collaborate with the international community to increase community resilience and local capacity is vast. While businesses are already making significant contributions, there are still many opportunities to expand the impact.
The initiative will coordinate and facilitate access to the tools, resources and mechanisms that will enable businesses to undertake effective disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery through networks that are connected via a global coordination architecture to each other and to other actors.
The initiative rests on the notion that while Governments maintain overall responsibility for responding to humanitarian emergencies, local communities and private sector networks also play a critical role in ensuring preparedness for, response to and recovery after emergencies. Strong networks play a vital role in ensuring that individuals and communities are resilient enough to return to normalcy as soon as possible and regain access to goods and services.
The Connecting Business initiative is meeting the demand of the private sector for engagement in a more strategic and permanent way both globally and locally. The World Humanitarian Summit Synthesis Report, drawing on consultations with over 900 businesses, recommended:
networks be established and supported to facilitate coordinated and effective engagement by businesses;
a mechanism be created to coordinate private sector engagement globally; and
businesses be engaged holistically across resilience, response and recovery.
The Report of the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing appointed by the UN Secretary-General also called for the establishment of local, regional and industry-specific business networks focused on scaling business engagement.
The Connecting Business initiative responds to these demands by:
assisting businesses and business associations to utilize existing networks to create platforms for disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery;
operating a global coordination architecture and a clear entry point for the private sector that:
connects sub-national, national, regional, thematic and industry business networks;
provides access to resources to mobilize and support business engagement;
collates and disseminates capacity building materials and examples of leading practice; and
connects business networks to each other and to other actors to identify and match needs at local, regional and global levels before, during and after emergencies.
This multistakeholder initiative is led by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).