If the current state of the world and covid-19 has taught us anything it has taught us that business as usual will never be the same again. Similarly, the business of doing business must be rethought.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that now is “a defining moment for modern society. History will judge the efficacy of the response not by the actions of any single set of government actors taken in isolation, but by the degree to which the response is coordinated globally across all sectors for the benefit of our human family.” The magnitude of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as the widest and fastest-spreading public health emergency in a century has put a spotlight on existing challenges facing the UN system to engage with the private sector in a systemic way. Historically, UN engagement with the private sector was purely on financial or in-kind contributions. However, as new global challenges, such as the recent pandemic, have highlighted, new partnership models that leverage the power of business, innovation and other resources have become over more important.
In 2018, I was the UN Secretary-General’s Humanitarian Envoy and I began meeting and discussing with corporate champions how to use the dynamism of the private sector to help benefit those most in need of humanitarian assistance and the UN. Following a first informal meeting between several companies and UN agencies alongside the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2019, the foundational principles, goals and founding members of the Global Humanitarian Action Executive Alliance materialised.
Currently no other group within the ecosystem of humanitarian public-private partnership exists that has such a clearly strategic focus and that brings together such a diverse and high-powered group of corporate and UN stakeholders. In combination, the deployment of these seven principles through GHAEA has the potential to creatively disrupt current humanitarian processes. The founding corporate GHAEA Members have come together to embark on this journey towards transforming the way corporate-UN humanitarian partnerships are approached.
I’m pleased to introduce the Global Humanitarian Action Executive Alliance, a group of business leaders committed to changing the way aid is delivered to meet new global humanitarian challenges.
Dr. Ahmed Al Meraikhi
Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General