A study released today by The Conference Board of Canada confirms the greater collaboration between humanitarian and private sector organizations would contribute to more effective and efficient responses to international disasters.
“This research revealed an impressive overlap of motivations across sectors for responding to emergencies: to assist survivors. We need to debunk persistent myths among humanitarians about the motivations of the private sector and build cross-sector collaboration to improve our Canadian response to emergencies,” says Nicolas Moyer Executive Director of the Humanitarian Coalition, which commissioned the research.
The research took place in conjunction with consultations held in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto and was funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD). A short introduction video and a free copy of the report are available online.
“The increasingly globalized nature of companies, supply chains and communities means that international disasters are more likely to impact Canadian businesses; directly affecting operations or employees,” says Moyer. “Enhancing cooperation between disaster relief organizations and businesses can improve our collective ability to respond and, ultimately save lives.”
The report Enhancing Collaboration in International Disasters, recognizes the vital role humanitarian aid plays in saving lives. In fact, more than 70% of Private sector respondents indicated they had supported at least one international humanitarian disaster relief effort in the past five years.
However, relationships between Canadian companies and humanitarian organizations are limited. The Canadian Corporate Community Investment Benchmarking Report, by the Conference Board of Canada, demonstrates that $1.8 million of the $710 million contributions by corporations as community investment went to international disaster relief – less than a quarter of a per cent.
“Our research found that most Canadian corporations have responded to at least one international humanitarian disaster in the past and there is clearly an appetite for a more concerted effort to strengthen support and improve response times,” explains Michael Bassett, Associate Director, Governance, Compliance and Risk at the Conference Board of Canada.
Equally, aid agencies responded that advance planning is the key to unlocking the potential of private sector partnerships, as in times of crisis they are completely engaged in the response itself and cannot focus energies on new partnerships.
The Humanitarian Coalition plans to pursue some of the recommendations in the Conference Board report in order to promote long-term sharing and cooperation between the sectors. The Conference Board’s recommendations include:
1. The creation of a centralized hub for international disaster response
2. A national dialogue on Canada’s impact in the world of international disaster response
3. Structured post-disaster briefings with business and humanitarian organizations
4. The provision of collaboration support tools