Natural disasters. Refugee crises. Epidemic outbreaks. When these and other forms of humanitarian crises strike, the response determines whether those affected not only survive—but also have the chance to thrive—in the aftermath. Efficiency and effectiveness of humanitarian responses are vital, as is managing the risk and impact of future emergencies with disaster preparedness.
Humanitarian crises response efforts deliver access to food, safe water, shelter, sanitation services, and medical care to those who need it most. These efforts face enormous risks, challenges, and constraints while providing assistance to the world’s most vulnerable populations.
As the world continues to deal with prolonged conflicts and adverse climate-related events—such as droughts and floods—the need for effective, efficient help keeps rising.There is much to do.
In 2018, more than 128 million people around the world will need humanitarian assistance and protection.
Worldwide, 68.5 million people have been displaced from their homes—which includes nearly 25.4 million refugees.
Turkey hosts more than 3 million refugees—more than any other nation. Meanwhile, in Lebanon, 1 in 4 habitants is a refugee.
In 2017 the number of undernourished people is estimated to have increased to 821 million—around 1 out of every 9 people in the world.
To ensure at-risk populations get the help they need—when they need it—humanitarian actors must craft innovative approaches, address funding shortfalls, adopt bold new operating models, and partner with the private sector in new ways. With these imperatives in mind, BCG is collaborating across the private, public, and social sectors to drive new approaches and models for humanitarian assistance.
Many forward-thinking companies are forging private-sector networks to mobilize and coordinate the humanitarian aid response to emergencies. By partnering with other businesses, as well as governments and key humanitarian actors, network members can deploy their unique capabilities and resources where they’re needed most. These efforts also benefit their own businesses by building their internal resilience to disaster.
Private-sector networks play four primary roles in disaster prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery:
With humanitarian needs outpacing the resources available, it’s more crucial than ever for aid organizations to extract maximum value from every program they design and every partnership they forge. It’s a challenging mandate—but progressive organizations will stand the best chance of meeting it.
Unleashing More Time and Money for Humanitarian Aid
The three areas of administrative inefficiency outlined here—and ideas for addressing them—can provide a basis for ongoing dialogue among donors and NGOs.
In a Crisis, Companies Are Better Off Working Together
When disaster strikes, companies need to protect their workforce and recover operations quickly. Private-sector networks help companies connect with one another to strengthen their risk preparedness and coordinate a response.
Managing the Risk and Impact of Future Epidemics
A report by the World Economic Forum, written with BCG, analyzes which aspects of the Ebola response worked well and where the effort fell short.
The Big Payback of Emergency Preparedness
An investment of $5.6 million in activities aimed at cutting costs and response times during emergencies is expected to deliver $12 million in savings.
Prescription for Disaster: Harnessing Private-Sector Tools in Hurricane Sandy Recovery
New York City enlisted BCG’s help in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The effort harnessed detailed data on the storm damage and set rebuilding priorities.
Getting Business Ready for the Next Disaster
BCG’s David Young explores how companies can best prepare for an emergency to make the greatest impact, both in terms of benefits to the business and to society.
Water, Humanitarian Assistance, and a Pathway to Safety
It has becomes clear that the global water crises is one of the biggest threat facing the planet in over a decade. BCG’s Chris Holmes explores how to alter this trajectory.
A study commissioned by the United Nations World Food Programme found that giving Syrian refugees unrestricted cash instead of vouchers yielded similar or better food security.
The results were largely positive. What can other countries learn from Germany’s experience?
For more than a decade, BCG has supported WFP to enhance its effectiveness on a wide range of strategic, operational, and organizational issues.
BCG's consultants and industry experts focusing on humanitarian response continue to partner with leading social organizations, corporations, nonprofits, and philanthropic bodies to arrive at solutions for emergencies. These are some of our experts on this topic.
Associate Director, Social Impact
Managing Director & Partner
Managing Director & Senior Partner; Global Leader, Social Impact practice
Managing Director & Senior Partner