Press release: Humanitarian Innovation Program

Sharable, scalable, sector-wide solutions serve as the program’s foundation

Deloitte launches Humanitarian Innovation Program to enhance crisis preparedness and emergency response worldwide.


New York, 25 June 2013 – In an effort to help to strengthen the humanitarian sector, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) and its member firm network today announced the launch of the Humanitarian Innovation Program, which will deliver two global pro bono projects for humanitarian organizations. The program underscores Deloitte’s broader belief that the success of business and society are linked. It marks a new approach to supporting humanitarian crises by collaborating with humanitarian organizations to co-create innovative solutions to help improve the sector’s preparedness and responsiveness to crises. DTTL’s global member firm network will participate in this collaborative effort working to deliver Deloitte’s globally coordinated approach to supporting crises around the world.

The program launches at a time when humanitarian organizations are increasingly responding to a variety of disasters, requiring an immediate response with limited resources.  According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), only 3 percent of all global Official Development Assistance goes to disaster preparedness,1 yet each dollar invested in preparedness, saves seven dollars in recovery. Deloitte’s Program aims to deliver solutions to humanitarian agencies to help them during the preparation and readiness phases, which could ultimately help to strengthen the response of the local and international community, sustain livelihoods, and save more lives.

“At Deloitte we believe that business exists for more than just profit and has the power to positively impact society,” said Barry Salzberg, former Deloitte Global CEO. “The Humanitarian Innovation Program is a way for Deloitte to deliver the greatest impact to the sector, not by simply focusing on a single crisis or donating money, but by leveraging the skills and knowledge of our people and our network.  The program will convene different subject matter experts, facilitate the co-creation of new approaches to humanitarian crises, and find the most effective way to deliver better results for the long term.”

The program was developed after broad consultations with leading humanitarian organizations, which identified the need for innovation and collaboration with the private sector.

“With the scale and frequency of disasters increasing, and humanitarian organizations being stretched to do more with fewer resources, the need to find sustainable, multi-sector solutions has never been greater,” said David Pearson, Chief Sustainability Officer, DTTL. “This program is more than a series of pro-bono engagements; it will serve to generate innovative ideas that have the potential to transform the humanitarian sector. Each project will tackle an issue faced by many organizations in the sector. The solutions Deloitte co-creates will be scalable from one organization to another, amplifying each project’s impact.”

According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), it is estimated that natural disasters have cost the world more than $1 trillion in destruction since 2000.2 Not to mention ongoing humanitarian responses due to civil unrest or erupting conflicts — in 2011 there were 200 active conflicts worldwide.3 And the implications far exceed monetary costs; between 2000 and 2012, 1.2 million people were killed and 2.9 billion people affected by disasters.4

Over the past year several DTTL member firms have tested this collaborative approach by delivering or kicking off pro bono projects for UN OCHA and Mercy Corps. The first was a leadership development program for UN OCHA’s humanitarian coordinators — the UN’s most senior leaders responsible for coordinating life-saving assistance during humanitarian responses — hosted by Deloitte United States at Deloitte University in Westlake, Texas.

Additionally, Deloitte United States is working with Mercy Corps to create a framework that identifies risks and incorporates resiliency into the strategic and operational decision-making processes while preserving the organization’s agility and entrepreneurial culture.

“The humanitarian environment is a very complex environment and resiliency is a particularly difficult challenge faced by all humanitarian organizations,” said Neal Keny-Guyer, CEO of Mercy Corps. “The solutions developed through our work with Deloitte will be shared broadly, providing a framework that not only helps our organization but the ability of the sector to respond to crises in a way that also builds local community resilience.”

The Humanitarian Innovation Program will be open to any humanitarian organization worldwide and DTTL will receive applications through July 2013. A panel will review the applications and select two pro bono projects which Deloitte member firms will begin work on in late 2013. For more information on the application process please visit:

To learn more about the positive impact already being delivered by the Deloitte network, watch the video on the UN OCHA leadership development project:





About Deloitte

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL), a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity.  Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.

Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. Deloitte has in the region of 200,000 professionals, all committed to becoming the standard of excellence.

1 Source: UN OCHA Report: World Humanitarian Data and Trends 2012 

2 Source: UNDP and UN OCHA Video Act Now, Save Later

3 Source: UN OCHA Report: World Humanitarian Data and Trends 2012

4 Source:  Disaster Impacts/ 2000-2012: United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction. *Disasters refer to drought, earthquake (seismic activity), epidemic, extreme temperature, flood, insect infestation, mass movement (dry & wet), storm, volcano, and wildfire.

Last Updated:  25 June 2013

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