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The Network Foundation Guide and associated resources are designed to help businesses and other actors think through the key building blocks needed to create successful private sector networks for disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery (which together constitute disaster risk management or DRM). They are meant to provide guidance and the tools to help networks understand their context, identify key areas of need, and develop strong initial working relationships that will be the basis of their DRM activities.  The guide can be used to evaluate whether a given country is suited to the creation of a private sector DRM network. It can also be used by existing networks to ensure their programming is aligned with the local context and stakeholders on an ongoing basis.

This guide has been developed as part of a suite of tools offered by the Connecting Business Initiative to existing and prospective Member Networks to assist them in their journey.  The other tools offered include an online Network Assessment, to help networks self-assess their performance and identify highest-priority resources; and an online Resource Library, still in development, that will collect a set of curated tools and resources to help networks at any stage of development.

Timeline of network maturity and key CBi tools to use along the way:



Goal of the Guide:

The Network Foundation Guide is designed to assist in the establishment of new private sector networks for DRM and support the activities of existing networks. It provides guidance by ensuring new founders and existing networks consider an important set of key questions to build a firm foundation, landscape their context, establish a strong organizational and financial model, and develop their programming. The information in this guide is based on UN experience, promising practices from private sector networks, and consultation with existing networks and actors.  

There are four key steps to establishing and maintaining a successful private sector network for disaster risk management:

This guide is organized into four chapters, one for each step.  The first step, Understand the Field, is meant to provide an initial introduction to Connecting Business initiative (CBi), the global humanitarian architecture, and the value of private sector collective action networks.  The second step, Landscape Context, should be conducted as you begin to explore the creation of a new private sector DRM network and should be revisited regularly by existing networks to ensure that they maintain an accurate and up-to-date view of the broader DRM landscape and the key actors in their specific country. The next two steps, Establish Network Model and Determine Initial Activities, should both occur after Step 1 and Step 2, but may proceed in parallel or at different speeds, depending on the needs of the country.


Each chapter includes the following:

  • An introduction

  • A synopsis of the chapter's goals

  • A set of key questions for networks and other actors to ask themselves, to ensure they have a thorough and holistic view of the core aspects of their foundation.

The key questions are accompanied by relevant materials to help answer them, including guides, examples from other networks, templates, surveys, sample documents, and reference information to external resources.


Please note that this guide has been developed with an initial focus on networks designed to support private sector engagement in preparedness, response, resilience and recovery for natural disasters (e.g. hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic activity) rather than conflicts or epidemics.  Much of the content in the guide will still be useful for networks responding to conflicts or epidemics, but they will not reflect all the complexities associated with these situations.  Additional resources may be developed in the future to address these specific contexts. 

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