The FINANCIAL — Ericsson on October 14 announces that it has become a signatory of the Humanitarian Connectivity Charter. Launched by the GSMA in March 2015, the Charter aims to strengthen access to communication and information for those affected by crisis in order to reduce loss of life and positively contribute to humanitarian response.
In 2014, 102 million people were affected by natural disasters, and nearly 60 million people were forcibly displaced by violence and conflict.
Ericsson has a long history of working with disaster and humanitarian response, and better ICT industry coordination means millions more lives could potentially be saved in crisis situations, according to Ericsson.
The principles of the Charter are:
to enhance coordination within and among mobile network operators before, during and after a disaster
to scale and standardize preparedness and response activities across the industry to enable a more predictable response
to strengthen partnerships between the mobile industry, government and the humanitarian sector.
Ericsson participated in the Charter drafting committee and is the first ICT infrastructure and service provider to become a Charter signatory. Ericsson’s commitment to disaster and humanitarian response is long-standing, and the company’s Ericsson Response program recently marked its 15-year anniversary.
Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), says: “Well-functioning infrastructure is critical in disasters. Ericsson has shown a proven ability to deliver time and time again to the humanitarian community during disasters.
“Humanitarian response is a shared responsibility, and we need the private sector to play an important role in helping restore vital communications. We are very pleased to see Ericsson formally join the Charter.”
Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson, says: “Our first disaster response was in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2001. Since then, Ericsson has assisted with providing vital communications in more than 40 disasters in 30 countries.
“There are enormous opportunities to transform humanitarian response through improved connectivity. The Humanitarian Connectivity Charter principles chart the way to realizing this transformation, and align with Ericsson’s ambition to be a responsible and relevant driver of positive change in the Networked Society.”
With more than 7.5 billion connections and 3.7 billion unique subscribers worldwide, mobile plays a vital role that no other technology can in supporting preparedness and response efforts for humanitarian emergencies. Mobile networks facilitate access to life-saving information and allow those affected by crises and those providing assistance including governments the humanitarian community to better communicate and coordinate efforts.
“The GSMA is pleased to welcome Ericsson as a signatory to the Humanitarian Connectivity Charter. The leadership and expertise demonstrated by Ericsson Response during many recent emergencies highlights the collaborative and impactful role that the mobile industry can play during these crises,” said Kyla Reid, Head of Disaster Response, GSMA.
The Humanitarian Connectivity Charter, launched by the GSMA at Mobile World Congress in March 2015, is supported by UN OCHA, the UN Emergency Telecommunications Cluster and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. It was created following a series of industry workshops and collaboration facilitated by the GSMA Disaster Response program, in association with UN agencies, mobile operators, vendors and NGOs.