Humanitarian Response

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. Missteps in the design and execution of humanitarian aid programs can have serious consequences for intended beneficiaries and aid workers alike. 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.

The Private Sector’s Role in Humanitarian Crises

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:

  1. Coordinating private-sector efforts
  2. Coordinating efforts among industry-specific actors
  3. Building business resilience for members and their suppliers
  4. Facilitating sharing of information and best practices

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.

Learn More About Humanitarian Response

The Private Sector's Role in Humanitarian Crises

The Private Sector's Role in Humanitarian Crises

The Private Sector's Role in Humanitarian Crises


We Need to Turn Our Response to Crisis Inside Out

Read More About Our Impact in Humanitarian Response

Meet Some of BCG’s Experts in Humanitarian Response

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.

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