The overall aim of this project (undertaken with the Partnership Resource Centre) was to strengthen UNHCR’s understanding of how to better engage and partner with the private sector beyond fundraising, for a range of potential benefits for refugees and other persons of concern.

You can read the report here.

The World Humanitarian Summit, Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), New York Declaration, Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development set the context for internal changes in UNHCR in order to tackle global challenges. These documents frame private sector engagement as necessary to reach global objectives when responding to refugee crises.

At the same time, private sector companies are increasingly seeking to expand their definition of 'value creation' at the heart of their business model from economic outcomes alone to contribute value to social and environmental concerns. Therefore, many seek to support UNHCR’s mandate to work in partnership to jointly find short-term and durable solutions for refugees and other persons of concern.

The research project used mixed methods to investigate several key components:

  • a stocktake of private sector engagements (PSEs) that are ongoing or occurred in the past two to three years;
  • a benchmarking exercise of similar agencies;
  • a literature review of trends in PSE beyond fundraising;
  • a case study of PSE in Malaysia; and
  • consultations with UNHCR Headquarters staff on strategic considerations and implications of UNHCR’s PSE in the future.

We offer nine recommendations.

  • approach and measure partnering along a range of outcomes;
  • decentralize partnership objective setting;
  • strengthen working relationships across the organization;
  • remove barriers (such as annual planning cycles and budgeting) and establish institutional incentives for partnering;
  • meet staff’s capacity development needs in partnering with the private sector;
  • demonstrate the same level of support for operational partnering as that given to fundraising;
  • position the Shared Value Partnerships Unit (SPU) in PSP for global engagements, trade delegations, and “go/no-go” lists;
  • develop a strong value proposition; and
  • map which Headquarters departments partner with all types of partner, for what purposes and how.