Assistant-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ms. Ursula Mueller Remarks at Connecting Business Initiative, Networks Meeting Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Week

News and Press Release
Originally published


Geneva, Switzerland, 8 February 2018

As delivered

I am delighted to be here today and to have the opportunity to see so many of the networks that are part of the Connecting Business initiative attend.

I understand the Connecting Business initiative has already had two very productive days – on Monday, when the Executive Committee looked at the strategic direction of CBi in 2018, and the annual event on Tuesday during which you had the chance to promote the concept of CBi but also test assumptions and concepts of the key themes CBi deals with in a larger audience.

Today, you will have the opportunity to build further on these ideas, learn from each other and explore themes such as business continuity, sustainability, complex emergencies and innovation. It is very befitting that this meeting takes place during the Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Week – an event that has, since 2015, provided a unique forum for participants from diverse groups, including the United Nations, NGOs, Member States, the private sector, the military, academia and others to work together to find ways to solve common problems.

The Connecting Business initiative encapsulates the very essence of the focus on cross sector partnerships across the UN System. It is also very much aligned with a recent report of the UN Secretary General to the General Assembly on Repositioning the Development System to deliver on the 2030 Agenda, which states that the UN will give priority attention to partnerships to ensure that the system can adequately respond in implementing a comprehensive and integrated agenda. This focus is further strengthened in the UN Secretary-General’s recent report on Partnerships, which highlights the importance of multi-stakeholder initiatives, such as the one that you are part of.

For us in OCHA, our private sector engagement strategy focuses on supporting collective action of the private sector in support of humanitarian action and in line with humanitarian principles – for example by fostering links between business networks and the humanitarian architecture and identifying other points of entry. This embodies the spirit of the outcomes of the World Humanitarian Summit, which took place almost two years ago.

The successes of the initiative so far speak for themselves. It is impressive that eight of the networks in the Connecting Business Initiative responded to various emergencies in 2017. It is equally impressive that in 2017 alone, through the media CBi has reached an audience of 129 million people. Not only is it an excellent example of two UN agencies – UNDP and OCHA – successfully working together to strengthen the humanitarian-development nexus, it is also a tribute to the value of multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Without the joint efforts and support of all you in the room today, this initiative would not have been possible. Thank you for championing the idea of CBi and making CBi become a reality!

As always, more can be done. So, I wish you a very productive day today as you take this initiative forward – identifying how you can focus your efforts in 2018 and what we can we can do to support you.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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