MNA Editorial Desk: The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has reached an unprecedented agreement with the World Health Organization (WHO) to mobilise ICC private sector network to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this regard, ICC and the WHO issued a joint statement on Wednesday outlining key elements, which include: disseminating the latest and expert advice to businesses, forging collaboration between the private sector, UN and WHO country teams; and providing business insights to help international COVID19 crisis management efforts.
Meanwhile, ICC Chair Paul Polman and Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO have written an open letter to the Saudi G20 Presidency to call for immediate and coordinated global action to ensure access to essential medical supplies, scale public health financing to tackle the outbreak and restore confidence and stability in the global economy.
The WHO anticipates a need of $675 million through April alone for preparedness and response efforts.
To help meet this funding gap, the WHO has created a new COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, the first-of-its-kind fund for companies, foundations and individuals to donate to WHO’s global response to the ongoing pandemic.
The ICC-WHO joint statement appears as follows:
In a coordinated eﬀort to combat the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have agreed to work closely to ensure the latest and most reliable information and tailored guidance reaches the global business community.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health and societal emergency that requires eﬀective immediate action by governments, individuals and businesses. All businesses have a key role to play in minimising the likelihood of transmission and impact on society. Early, bold and eﬀective action will reduce short term risks to employees and long-term costs to businesses and the economy.
To aid this collective eﬀort, ICC will regularly send updated advice to its network of over 45 million businesses so that businesses everywhere can take informed and eﬀective action to protect their workers, customers and local communities and contribute to the production and distribution of essential supplies.
ICC will also contribute to enhancing information ﬂows on the coronavirus outbreak by surveying its global private sector network to map the global business response. This will both encourage businesses to adopt appropriate precautionary approaches and generate new data and insights to support national and international government eﬀorts.
As an immediate priority, businesses should be developing or updating, readying or implementing business continuity plans. Business continuity plans should aim to reduce transmission, including by: promoting understanding of the disease, its symptoms and appropriate behavior among employees; setting up a reporting system for any cases and contacts; preparing essentials; limiting travel and physical connectivity; and planning for measures such as tele-working when necessary.
Calls to Action
• ICC strongly endorses WHO’s call on national governments everywhere to adopt a whole-of government and whole-of-society approach in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Reducing the further spread of COVID-19 and mitigating its impact should be a top priority for Heads of State and Government. Political action should be coordinated with actors in the private sector and civil society to maximise reach of messaging and eﬀectiveness.
• Governments should commit to making available all necessary resources to combat COVID-19 with the minimum of delay and to ensure that cross-border medical and other essential goods supply chains are able to function eﬀectively and efciently
• ICC and the WHO encourage national chambers of commerce to work closely with UN country teams, including WHO country ofces where they exist, and to designate mutual focal points to coordinate this collaboration.
• ICC encourages its members to support their country’s national response eﬀorts and to contribute to the global response eﬀorts coordinated by the WHO through www.covid19responsefund.org. As the pandemic evolves, ICC Secretary General John W.H Denton AO and WHO Director General
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will continue to coordinate their eﬀorts. Essential information on the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the WHO’s dedicated site.