Statement by Ambassador Barbara Woodward at the Security Council meeting on advancing public-private partnerships.

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Public-private partnerships have the potential to transform humanitarian action: UK Statement at the UN Security Council

14 September 2023

Thank you President for convening this important and useful debate.

And let me start by thanking Executive Director McCain, Mr Cohen and Mr Miebach for their informative briefings.

Colleagues, on Tuesday we rose to offer our condolences to the people of Libya and Morocco following their losses. I do that again today but this is also a tragic reminder of the need for us to explore every avenue to maximise our humanitarian response to the many challenges the world faces today against a backdrop of soaring humanitarian need. And in this the role of the private sector is becoming increasingly important. As we’ve heard, private actors can provide knowledge, expertise, and investment to tackle humanitarian need, reduce threats, and build resilience.

The case of SAFER oil tanker in Yemen is a good example of private-public partnership that had real impact on an item on this Council’s agenda. By working together, public and private actors removed over one million barrels of oil from the decaying SAFER oil tanker and in doing so, they averted a major environmental, humanitarian and economic catastrophe.

President, I want to highlight three further ideas of where public and private actors can work together in this spirit.

First, bringing together all efforts to sustain peace. As this Council has heard many times, conflict is the main driver of humanitarian need. The private sector can play a role in peacebuilding and in preventing conflict. For example, the UK has supported the development of ‘peace bonds’, a new investment category to develop finance for peace. We should continue to champion public-private collaboration in support of international peace and security.

Second, using all the tools at our disposal to get ahead of crises before they hit. And in this context the UK has collaborated with humanitarian and private actors on Disaster Risk Financing. We have supported the IFRC’s risk transfer mechanism, which has the potential to unlock $22 million of private funding in humanitarian crises. This could enable the IFRC to reach an additional 6 million vulnerable people.

Third and finally, the private sector can support better humanitarian responses through new technology. For example, the UK has invested in mobile innovation funds, which have supported rapid detection and treatment of Cholera. This includes a tool to reduce the Cholera detection time from 3 days to just 30 minutes. This innovation is vital for a disease which has been particularly devastating in Syria, in DRC and in Myanmar this year.

President, it is clear that public-private partnerships have the potential to transform humanitarian action and we look forward to continuing to work together to tap into this potential. Thank you.

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