Today, the humanitarian aid sector is one of the world's biggest growth industries, according to the United Nations. That’s because natural disasters, environmental degradation and over 100 armed conflicts around the world are driving millions of additional people into poverty and hunger each year.
“We are now living with a series of concurrent and long-term crises that will continue to fuel global humanitarian needs. And this is happening just as funding for humanitarian relief operations is drying up,” said World Food Programme Executive Director Cindy McCain.
“Humanitarian needs are growing at a blistering pace,” said United States Representative at the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield. “And the gap between funding provided and UN-assessed needs stands at nearly 40 billion dollars.”
Aid workers do what they can to save lives, but “they need the international community to provide them with more resources,” she said:
“This moment calls for bold action. It calls for breaking out of our business-as-usual model. It calls for thinking holistically about how we address increasingly protracted crises. And it calls for everyone, not just Member States, but everyone with the means to do their part.”
One way to help end the suffering is to engage the private sector. “In recent years, four of the largest logistics corporations – UPS, Agility, Maersk, and DP World – regularly joined forces in the logistics cluster led by the World Food Program,” said Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield. “And in places like Haiti, where gang violence is impeding humanitarian access, the private sector is playing a vital role.”
“Commercial airlines have donated capacity on their existing routes to transport aid, while logistics providers ensured the smooth movement of life-saving supplies. The result: a watershed partnership that ensured cholera treatment reached people in need.”
“For too long, we have turned to the private sector exclusively for financing. And to its credit, it has shown enormous generosity,” said Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield. “But in 2023, we know they have so much more to offer. Their capacities, their know-how, and innovations are tremendously needed.”
“The public sector must do more to proactively work with the private sector, especially as we look to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. The public sector must harness the expertise of the private sector and translate it into action.”
“It is past time for us to welcome the private sector through the front door,” said Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield. “The world’s most vulnerable are counting on us.”