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EU supports UN-led Connecting Business Initiative

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PRESS RELEASE: EU supports UN-led Connecting Business initiative to help private sector address crises, complex emergencies

Brussels, 15 November 2017—The European Union (EU) has announced it will provide EUR450,000 (approx. US$530,000) through its Enhanced Response Capacity to the new UN-led Connecting Business initiative (CBi), which helps businesses prepare for and respond to crises, disasters and complex emergencies in developing countries.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) will utilize the EU grant through the CBi to support private sector networks, and collective action platforms to engage businesses in disaster risk reduction and complex emergencies in a principled, structured and coordinated manner.

“The complexity and magnitude of humanitarian crises call for coordinated approaches to engage the private sector in disaster risk reduction and humanitarian response. The private sector has much to offer in terms of resources, expertise and innovation capabilities. These are essential. The EU is committed to foster this environment, and the support of this initiative is a tangible example of this,” said EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said: “The world is facing a scale of humanitarian crises not seen since the Second World War. More than 141 million people are affected by conflict, displacement, natural disasters, and profound vulnerability. Partnerships among UN agencies, NGOs, the private sector and governments are critical if we are to respond better to current and future humanitarian and development challenges.”

Forty-three per cent of people now live in areas especially vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters and crises or in areas of conflict. By 2030 this number is expected to climb to a staggering 62 per cent.

“Economic losses from disasters for the past ten years are estimated at US$1.4 trillion – making disasters not only a risk to lives and livelihoods, but also a huge risk to businesses.  These disasters can lead to value chain disruption, job and livelihoods losses, and closure of small- and medium-sized enterprises,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner. “This initiative allows businesses to engage in a more efficient way in disaster management, while tapping into private sector creativity and innovation.”

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Photo credit: UN / Christopher Herwig