01/27/2016, 12:00 PM CET

Deutsche Post DHL Group and United Nations celebrate 10-year success story of public-private partnership

The partnership aims to prepare airports and personnel on disaster preparedness and provides support to better manage logistics at airports in disaster hit areas.

from left: Christof Ehrhart, Director of Corporate Communications and Corporate Responsibility, Maria Luisa Silva, Director of the UNDP Office in Geneva, United Nations Development Programme, Rudolf Müller, acting Director OCHA Geneva

  • Initial agreement was signed with the United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs/UNOCHA and the United Nations Development Programme/UNDP in 2005
  • Joint activities aim to enhance the capacity of airports and authorities to prepare for natural disasters and emergency response
  • As of January 2016 the Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) program has trained a total of 600 people across 30 airports in 15 countries on disaster preparedness
  • Over the past ten years the Group's Disaster Response Teams (DRTs) deployed more than 30 times to disaster hit areas worldwide

Bonn - Deutsche Post DHL Group and the United Nations - represented by the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - today celebrate a decade of successfully partnering in the areas of disaster preparedness and response. The partnership aims to prepare airports and personnel on disaster preparedness and provides support to better manage logistics at airports in disaster hit areas. The initial memorandum of understanding was signed in December 2005 in New York.

"I am very proud today to celebrate ten successful years of a joint partnership with the United Nations. Let me thank all of those who have continuously supported our efforts in disaster preparedness and disaster relief. Our unique public-private endeavor has developed into a very positive joint initiative which was able to provide crucial support at airports and deliver help to those who most needed it. We are very pleased that we are able to share our logistics expertise within the international aid community and in cooperation with such globally recognized partners as UNOCHA and UNDP. I am very much looking forward to extending this positive experience in the coming years", said Frank Appel, CEO Deutsche Post DHL Group.

Video on the partnership with UNDP

Airport preparedness is a key element of disaster preparedness mechanisms and plans. As airports are the main access point to receive international as well as national aid when a disaster strikes, they can also become a critical bottleneck due to damages to infrastructure and a lack of capacity. In order to address these challenges, Deutsche Post DHL Group and UNDP jointly developed the Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) program.

The major focus of GARD is to bring all relevant stakeholders involved in humanitarian actions - from cargo operators to emergency services as well as security, customs and management - together to identify potential causes of backlogs which could hamper a relief operation. The GARD workshop further aims to develop practical recommendations for contingency planning. This exercise is again conducted jointly with the national stakeholders. To date, GARD has been implemented at airports in Armenia, Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Nepal, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Turkey and Sri Lanka. Finally, the GARD program also offers a follow-up workshop to review the original recommendations and their implementation process. These so-called GARD plus workshops have been conducted in a number of countries including Armenia, Lebanon and Indonesia.

"It is increasingly clear that the eradication of poverty and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals will remain difficult if we do not address disaster risk," notes Magdy Martinez-Soliman, Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP's Bureau for Policy and Programme Support. "This requires an all-of-society approach, incorporating both the public and private sector. The partnership between UNDP, Deutsche Post DHL Group and OCHA is such an approach. By drawing on the respective strengths of the agencies involved we are better able to support our partners globally in disaster preparedness."

In 2016 the series of GARD and GARD plus workshops will continue in countries such as Honduras, Mauritius and Nepal.

"Together with Deutsche Post DHL Group we can foster disaster readiness and improve response", said the acting Director of OCHA Geneva, Rudolf Müller. "OCHA, the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, brings together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies, and to promote emergency preparedness and prevention. Deutsche Post DHL Group has the technical expertise, the assets and resources, the supply chains and networks to support better disaster risk reduction globally. I am very much looking forward to the continuation of this important partnership."

In the field of disaster response, Deutsche Post DHL Group has teamed up with UNOCHA. While the Group provides the UN with access to its core competence in logistics, its global network and the know-how of its employees on a free-of-charge basis, the UN mandates Deutsche Post DHL Group with access to the international relief and development community. The so-called Disaster Response Teams (DRT) are made up of DHL logistics experts trained in disaster management. Their task is to handle the incoming relief supplies at an airport. The DRT network consists of over 400 trained volunteers, who can be deployed within 72 hours, ready to stay for up to three weeks. At the airport the team handles relief supplies, sorts them and finds storage options. This allows relief agencies then to get quicker access to urgently needed items such as food, shelter, medicines and water for their further transportation to the people in need. The airport's capacity, coupled with a lack of equipment and resources in an often very demanding situation, are huge factors impacting the speed of delivery of relief goods to those in need. Since 2005, the DRTs have been deployed over 30 times worldwide, with the most recent missions following the devastating earthquake in Nepal in 2015 and following the destruction caused by Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu in March 2015.

Both programs, GARD and DRT, are part of the disaster management program GoHelp which is embedded in the overall "Living Responsibility" Corporate Responsibility program of Deutsche Post DHL Group.