In a coordinated effort to combat the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), a network of over 45 million businesses and the World Health Organization (WHO) have agreed to work closely to ensure the latest and most reliable information and tailored guidance reaches the global business community.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health and societal emergency that requires effective immediate action by governments, individuals and businesses. All businesses have a key role to play in minimising the likelihood of transmission and impact on society. Early, bold and effective action will reduce short- term risks to employees and long-term costs to businesses and the economy.
To aid this collective effort, ICC will regularly send updated advice to its network of over 45 million businesses so that businesses everywhere can take informed and effective action to protect their workers, customers and local communities and contribute to the production and distribution of essential supplies.
ICC will also contribute to enhancing information flows on the coronavirus outbreak by surveying its global private sector network to map the global business response. This will both encourage businesses to adopt appropriate precautionary approaches and generate new data and insights to support national and international government efforts.
As an immediate priority, businesses should be developing or updating, readying or implementing business continuity plans, aimed to reduce transmission by promoting understanding of the disease, its symptoms and appropriate behaviour among employees; setting up a reporting system for any cases and contacts; preparing essentials; limiting travel and physical connectivity; and planning for measures such as teleworking when necessary.
Calls to Action
ICC strongly endorses WHO’s call on national governments everywhere to adopt a whole-of- government and whole-of-society approach in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Reducing the further spread of COVID-19 and mitigating its impact should be a top priority for Heads of State and Government. Political action should be coordinated with actors in the private sector and civil society to maximise reach of messaging and effectiveness.
Governments should commit to making available all necessary resources to combat COVID-19 with the minimum of delay and to ensure that cross-border medical and other essential goods supply chains are able to function effectively and efficiently.
ICC and the WHO encourage national chambers of commerce to work closely with UN country teams, including WHO country offices where they exist, and to designate mutual focal points to coordinate this collaboration.
As the pandemic evolves, ICC Secretary General John W.H Denton AO and WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will continue to coordinate their efforts.
Essential information on the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the WHO’s dedicated site https://bit.ly/3dqDHyf