Colombia: Corporate partners see our impact in the field

Seven representatives of the ICRC's corporate support group (CSG) and the private sector accompanied President Peter Maurer on a field visit to Colombia in January of this year.

The trip allowed participants to see the various dimensions of the ICRC's work in Colombia and gain a better understanding of the complexities of ICRC operations. It also provided opportunities to explore potential collaboration between the corporate and humanitarian sectors. Participants included representatives of the Avina Stiftung, Holcim Colombia, Nespresso, Orange, Philips Foundation and the World Economic Forum.

Noting that Colombia is a conflict and violence-torn society where business must invest responsibly, President Peter Maurer explained that partnership with the private sector is helping the ICRC address some of the country's social and humanitarian challenges.

Collaboration to find sustainable solutions

The field visit exposed participants to a wide-range of ICRC activities in Bogotá, Buenaventura, Cali and Las Rosas. The group visited a prison, programmes for the missing, youth projects and microeconomic initiatives in areas of urban violence, access to employment programmes and coffee plantations.

The trip was an opportunity to show that the ICRC is results-oriented and looking for sustainable solutions. According to Thierry Baudin, Economic Security Coordinator of the ICRC Colombia delegation, a highlight for the participants was learning about the ICRC's Access to Employment programme and exploring the potential to improve training and employment prospects of people affected by the conflict in Colombia.

Mulan Giovannini, Deputy Head of ICRC Colombia delegation, added that "the meetings with directors of the ICRC's partner companies were very informative and brought light to the win-win scenarios that can be created between the private sector and humanitarian needs."

Humanitarians and the private sector, in partnering together, can bring concrete solutions which prepare the ground for a more equitable development of societies – this is certainly the case in Colombia.

Peter Maurer, President of the ICRC

The Corporate Support Group

The Corporate Support Group (CSG) was created in 2005. Its members include ABB, Avina Stiftung, Credit Suisse, Fondation Hans Wilsdorf, Fondation Lombard Odier, Novartis, Philips Foundation, Hoffman La Roche, Swiss Re Foundation, Vontobel and Zürich Insurance Group.

The ICRC and CSG members explore the possibilities to find innovative solutions to specific strategic challenges by aligning their assets, skills and networks.

In 2017, the CSG will contribute with at least CHF 17 million in direct financial contributions to the ICRC. However, the main driver of interaction is focused on humanitarian and organisational impact through joint projects on issues such as non-communicable diseases, mother and child care, energy solutions, medical logistics, waste management, new technologies, innovative financial instruments, sports and physical disability, to name but a few.