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Business Roundtable holds conference with business leaders and UN officials to discuss disaster response

Summary

An unprecedented gathering of U.S. business leaders, United Nations officials and representatives of the world’s leading nonprofit relief organisations met on April 25, 2005 at the UN to begin to outline ways to respond more effectively to global disasters and emergencies in the future.

Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of leading U.S. companies, hosted this unique collaborative effort aimed at raising awareness of the need for continuing tsunami relief and establishing opportunities for working partnerships among various groups.

The massive private sector response to the December 2004 Asian tsunami disaster comprised the largest fund-raising effort by U.S. companies in history, with more than $450 million contributed. Following the Asian tsunami disaster, there is a new imperative for cooperation in dealing with future global disasters, with the private sector engaging with international aid agencies and affected governments in a structured and coordinated manner to help provide relief.

Former President William J. Clinton, in his role as the UN Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, is offering a keynote address, discussing the global ramifications of major disasters and summarising the ongoing efforts to assist victims.

“The tremendous generosity of corporations and individuals for the survivors of the tsunami showed humanity at its best,” said Jan Egeland, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. “With this meeting, we use this momentum to encourage even better partnerships with the private sector in the future for forgotten and neglected emergencies elsewhere. If we prepare ourselves better together we can save a lot of lives.”

The Conference includes a number of case studies around private sector response to the Tsunami, focusing on the work of individual companies and their involvement with public sector agencies in that effort.