Financial Service Providers, Aid Agencies Agree on Joint Principles to Respond to Humanitarian Crises

19 Jan 2017

Peter Vanham, US Media Lead, Public Engagement, Tel.: +1 646 592 5907, Email:

· Eighteen global private-sector and humanitarian organizations have signed principles to guide public-private collaboration on digital delivery of humanitarian aid

· The principles are intended to increase efficiency in digital payment delivery and thereby reach a greater share of the 128.6 million people worldwide requiring humanitarian assistance

· For the full report outlining the principles, click here

· For further information on World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017, see

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19 January 2017, Davos-Klosters, Switzerland – Some of the world’s largest financial service providers, global IT and telecom companies and the international humanitarian community have agreed on six principles for public-private cooperation in humanitarian payments and the efficient disbursement of digital cash payments to crisis-affected populations in countries such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Nepal and Sierra Leone, the World Economic Forum announced today.

The six core principles that will shape collaborative response to humanitarian crises are:

· Build strategic partnerships pre-crisis to prepare for response

· Design the transfer mechanism

· Collect data that is relevant, proportional and standardized/shareable

· Protect, empower and serve the customer

· Encourage coordinated approaches

· Build institutional capacity for partnerships

The principles are elaborated in a report, Principles on Public-Private Cooperation in Humanitarian Payments that aims to facilitate their development into a flexible and applicable framework. The ultimate goal is to ensure affordable, convenient, timely and secure access to resource transfer in the context of humanitarian crises. “The needs of the recipients are at the heart of these principles,” stated Hikmet Ersek, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western Union, and one of the signatories of the principles. “The goal of this collaboration is to deliver faster, needs-appropriate life-saving assistance by placing access to funds and choice in the hands of people directly affected by crisis.”

The 18 signatory organizations are telecom and IT companies Ericsson, GSMA, SAP and Tata Consultancy Services; financial service providers Mastercard, PayPal, Segovia, Visa and Western Union; international organizations United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), World Food Programme (WFP) and the European Commission; as well as the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP), Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), Electronic Cash Transfer Learning Action Network (ELAN) and Mercy Corps.

The signatories were brought together by the World Economic Forum in response to a call from the UN Secretary-General for innovative thought leadership on improving cash-based assistance. The report considered core humanitarian principles, the OCHA-World Economic Forum Guiding Principles for Public-Private Collaboration for Humanitarian Action, and the Barcelona Principles in its development.

“The use of cash allows a humanitarian response that meets the needs of people in crises while giving them more choice and protecting their dignity,” said Stephen O’Brien, UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. “The principles lay a solid foundation for the private and public sectors to complement each other and deliver humanitarian cash payments at scale with maximum efficiency and effectiveness. Putting these principles into action will help bring real and positive impact for those who need it the most.”

“These principles should help organizations advance the digitalization of humanitarian payments, streamline assistance processes and procedures, and better coordinate humanitarian efforts,” said Drew Propson, Project Lead, Financial Inclusion, World Economic Forum.

Read the full report here

The 47th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is taking place on 17-20 January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, under the theme Responsive and Responsible Leadership. More than 3,000 participants from nearly 100 countries will participate in over 400 sessions.

The Co-Chairs taking a principal role in shaping the discussion at the meeting are:

Frans van Houten, President and Chief Executive Officer, Royal Philips, Netherlands

Brian Moynihan, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Bank of America Corporation, USA

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Documentary Filmmaker, SOC Films, Pakistan

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children International, United Kingdom

Meg Whitman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, USA

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All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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