Partnerships with the Private Sector

The private sector has long been a contributor to humanitarian action. It is among the first to be affected by emergencies but also to respond, bringing to bear local and industry expertise, skills and resources. This kind of work is increasingly recognised as an integral part of commercial operations.

The international humanitarian community is forming innovative partnerships with the private sector to strengthen emergency preparedness and response in order to save lives and livelihoods and to help rebuild local economies in vulnerable communities. However, a coordinated approach with humanitarian partners is critical to ensure that humanitarian relief efforts are efficient.

Partners include companies, corporate foundations, business networks and other platforms that commit to working with OCHA to foster sharing of technical expertise, resources and networks as well as to provide capacity building before disasters strike.

How the private sector helps in emergencies

Often the most effective way to help after a disaster is through cash donations. In-kind contributions to humanitarian relief efforts may also be useful but are most efficient when an agreement has been arranged in advance of an emergency with the appropriate humanitarian organisation.

Other actions should be coherent with the needs of the affected communities and the coordinated response. Companies that have employees, suppliers and customers in the region, or those that have existing agreements with humanitarian organizations, should reach out to and provide support to these groups directly.

It is important to note that the UN Secretary-General encourages companies to coordinate their response efforts with the UN and the affected government to minimize gaps and duplications with other responders.

All response activities should be guided by the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence, and should be in line with the UN guidelines on cooperation with the private sector. Relief efforts succeed when they collaboratively mobilize all stakeholders, including the private sector.

Information about commercial offers can be found at

ODI: Private sector engagement in complex emergencies: case studies from Yemen and southern Somalia (Feb 2017)

Tracking contributions

OCHA manages the Financial Tracking Service (FTS), which records all reported humanitarian contributions, including cash and in-kind donations from businesses. Its purpose is to give credit and visibility to donors for their generosity and to show the total amount contributed to an emergency, regardless of source or recipient. This reporting also allows for the pinpointing of gaps in the response.

To report your contribution write to, and copy, or go to to see how other businesses are responding.

Business consultations

The World Humanitarian Summit provided a unique opportunity to consult with businesses on the role that the private sector can play in reshaping humanitarian action. OCHA conducted 18 face-to-face business consultations with over 900 participants across the world in partnership with selected governments, and with private sector and humanitarian partners.

The consultations took place at the global, regional and country levels with a focus on specific industries and themes. In addition, in partnership with Vantage Partners, seven regional on-line surveys were conducted with 346 businesses to map key challenges and opportunities for private sector engagement in humanitarian action. These consultations provided businesses with an opportunity to identify emergency preparedness and response issues that they could help address and the challenges they faced in doing so.

The consultations also generated pilot projects that engage the private sector in emergency preparedness and response in advance of the WHS.

The outcomes of the consultations will be incorporated into the Secretary-General’s report on the WHS.

For more information on the Business Consultations visit


Our vision is that in five to ten years the private sector will be a core partner enabling more resilient communities and an effective humanitarian response system.


We advocate for systematized private sector engagement in humanitarian action through:

  • Brokering and facilitating relationships
  • Creating an enabling environment
  • Developing frameworks and tools

OCHA's Private Sector Section acts as a neutral broker and one-stop shop for the private sector and humanitarian community to catalyse change, create understanding, improve communications and build visibility to address pain-points in an adaptive and innovative way.

 Contact Us

For information on how to contribute to current emergencies, report contributions or make any inquiries, please contact