Creating a Culture of Preparedness: Humanitarian Connectivity Charter Annual Report Launch

On the second anniversary of the launch of the Humanitarian Connectivity Charter (HCC), we are pleased to be launching the inaugural Humanitarian Connectivity Charter Annual Report at Mobile World Congress 2017.

In 2012, GSMA established the Disaster Response programme at the request of its members. Recognising the critical role played by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and mobile technology in supporting preparedness and response to humanitarian crises, the programme aimed to build an understanding of how the mobile industry could most effectively coordinate and improve resilience in times of disaster. It also sought to identify how the industry could best support individuals, communities and humanitarian organisations on the ground following crises.

The launch of the HCC

In 2015 we launched the Humanitarian Connectivity Charter (HCC) to enable the industry and our humanitarian partners to formalise their commitments to enhancing their capacity to mitigate, prepare and respond to disasters through mobile technology. From three founding signatories, the Charter community has grown to over 100 Mobile Network Operator members and six endorsing humanitarian partners, with reach across more than 75 countries, and the potential to impact over 1.3 billion people.

This week we are proud to launch the Humanitarian Connectivity Charter Annual report, highlighting MNO signatory efforts and progress to support disaster preparedness and response activities around the world during 2016. As part of the mobile industry commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, this inaugural annual report charts the development and roll-out of the HCC as the mobile industry umbrella initiative on this topic, capturing global efforts to address crises ranging from the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, through to typhoons in the Philippines. This report will act as a baseline against which to measure progress in the coming years. We are also pleased to announce that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has become the latest humanitarian organisation to support the HCC, joining United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), the UN Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Ericsson and Nokia are technical partners of the Charter.

The inaugural annual report

The 2016 Annual Report tells the story of the growth of the Humanitarian Connectivity Charter (HCC) from its launch in 2015, to the end of 2016 charting how its footprint has expanded to more than 75 countries, becoming a globally recognised industry-wide initiative. The report also details signatory and partner achievements in upholding the HCC principles.

To enhance coordination within and among Mobile Network Operators before, during and after a disaster

    • In 2016, the HCC brought together over 100 experts from the humanitarian sector and mobile industry, with representation from over 24 operators joining face to-face discussions on industry collaborations.

    To scale and standardise preparedness and response activities across the industry to enable a more predictable response

      • The efforts of over 90% of signatory operators in establishing stronger business continuity plans has increased resilience, improving operators’ ability to provide connectivity to the communities in which they operate.

      To strengthen partnerships between the Mobile Industry, Government and the Humanitarian Sector

      • There are impressive examples of collaborative initiatives across sectors, including the Iraq Internally Displaced Persons Information Centre, and an innovative flood warning system in Nepal.

      Events of 2015 and 2016 led us to focus our attention on three key topics because of their particular relevance to HCC signatories, the wider mobile industry and the humanitarian sector; refugees and connectivity, Mobile Money and humanitarian cash transfers, and innovation. We outline the activities and research undertaken by GSMA in these areas in an attempt to consolidate initiatives and offer best practices for stakeholders for whom these topics are becoming increasingly important. New forms of innovation continue to push the boundaries of what is possible, and some of the most impactful innovations spearheaded by HCC signatories and partners are highlighted.

      The start of a journey

      We understand that transformation will not happen overnight. Signing the Humanitarian Connectivity Charter is the start of a journey, not the end point. But importantly the process has begun, and collectively we will work to build capacity across our industry.
      In 2017, we will continue to increase our commitment to identifying new ways of building preparedness. We will seek to stimulate innovation, continue to bridge understanding and build capacity around the usage and potential of mobile technology – including transformational services such as mobile money, cell broadcasting and the Internet of Things, whilst working closely with relevant associations and regulatory bodies.

      At the GSMA, we believe that when you restore the mobile network, you begin rebuilding the human network. We look forward to continuing our work with existing signatories, and welcome wider engagement from the mobile industry and our partners in the humanitarian sector in the coming year. Together we will continue to drive the creation and adoption of coordinated, impactful solutions and practices that leverage the ubiquity of mobile technology under the umbrella of the Humanitarian Connectivity Charter.

      Read the full report here

      This initiative is currently funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and supported by the GSMA and its members.