World Economic Forum, member companies, and UN pioneer two new initiatives supporting humanitarian emergency relief – Agility, TNT and UPS to contribute ‘Logistics Emergency Teams’ in natural disaster zones
The World Economic Forum, member companies, and the United Nations have launched two initiatives to facilitate further and deeper private sector support to humanitarian relief operations. The first initiative is a set of ten high-level Guiding Principles designed to direct both the private sector and humanitarian community as they work together to provide effective relief to those in need. The second initiative is a unique, pioneering example of collaboration between several companies and the humanitarian relief sector. Agility, TNT and UPS, three leading logistics and transport companies, are joining forces to help the humanitarian sector with the logistics of emergency response to large-scale natural disasters. The World Economic Forum has facilitated these initiatives by offering a neutral platform for the development of partnerships between the humanitarian relief sector and member companies.
"The United Nations is eager to increase its partnerships with the private sector, particularly given the escalating number and scale of disasters as a result of climate change,” said John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. “We need to bring together all public and private capacities—global, national, regional, and local–to respond to the needs of growing numbers of vulnerable people. These Principles should help us do that," he added.
“The future of humanitarian partnership is collaborative,” says Peter Bakker, TNT’s CEO and the initiator of the initiative. “That is the first time three industry leaders put competition aside to contribute their core competencies to the humanitarian community. We are calling for other logistics and transport companies to join.”
The three companies and the United Nations Global Logistics Cluster today agreed on guidelines and conditions for the intervention of joint ‘Logistics Emergency Teams’ (LETs). LETs’ support includes providing logistics specialists (e.g. airport coordination, airport managers and warehouse managers), logistics assets (e.g. warehouses, trucks, forklifts) and transportation services. LETs will intervene for the first three to six weeks following natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, or storms.
"The LETs program presents an incredible opportunity to bring the full weight of the logistics industry to bear at a time when lives are in the balance. UPS is pleased and honored to join with our respected competitors in this effort," said Dan Brutto, President, UPS International.
The companies stand ready to deploy Logistics Emergency Teams worldwide upon request from the United Nations Global Logistics Cluster. The nature of the request, local situations and the companies’ available resources will dictate the teams’ size and composition. As a general rule, they will serve in countries where member companies already operate, thereby leveraging their knowledge of local constraints. A committee representing the member companies is to answer requests from the Global Logistics Cluster led by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and decide on the deployment of LETs.
"When disaster strikes, our job is to mobilise massive assistance and to make sure it reaches those in need — fast," said Josette Sheeran, WFP’s Executive Director. "Private sector expertise and corporate partnerships are critical to helping us save lives."
"Global presence brings social responsibilities. As we grow as companies and as an industry, particularly in emerging markets, we can see for ourselves that the scourge of poverty, disease and disasters affects us all. No one can afford to ignore these problems – and in fact, working together, we are in a unique position to help," says Tarek Sultan, Chairman and Managing Director of Agility.
The quality of the partnership was first demonstrated on the ground in August 2007 when Agility, TNT and UPS set up Logistics Emergency Teams in Indonesia during an operational exercise with the World Food Programme. In February 2007, UPS and TNT together offered free warehouses to the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depots run by the World Food Programme in Ghana and Panama.
“After the devastating tsunami in 2004, and the increasing natural disasters since, the private sector has heard the call to action to support humanitarian relief operations,” said Richard Samans, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum. These two initiatives are only a start. The core competencies, resources, and increasing global reach of the private sector need to be further leveraged to save lives. “The Forum is eager to further facilitate and support these efforts,” he added.