Press releases

Promoting economic empowerment in settings affected by armed conflict, violence and fragility

12 September 2022
ITC News

ITC and the International Committee of the Red Cross sign Letter of Intent to expand collaboration in humanitarian and development nexus

(Geneva) The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today signed a Letter of Intent to help people affected by armed conflict and violence in fragile and hard-to-reach areas find economic opportunities.

ITC and ICRC commit to developing a long-standing collaboration leading to creating more business opportunities and boosting overall economic growth for economically vulnerable people affected by armed conflict and violence.

In particular, the organizations will extend their efforts in the humanitarian and development nexus while strengthening their work in the areas of livelihood support, job creation, the competitiveness of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and connecting value chains to market. In addition, the cooperation will focus on addressing the socio-economic priorities of refugees, displaced persons, and vulnerable members of the communities hosting them.

While fragile settings are increasingly emerging around the globe, ITC and ICRC are taking the first step in finding innovative solutions to meet the needs of affected people in these areas. Harnessing trade and business opportunities, the partnership seeks to chart a path for the inclusive, sustainable development of fragile communities, thus mitigating the risk of aid dependency and market distortion.

Promising results in Iraq

In July 2022 ICRC with ITC organized a market awareness and linkage event for small business owners in the city of Mosul in Iraq, under ITC’s Strengthening the Agriculture and Agri-Food Value Chain and Improving Trade Policy (SAAVI) project funded by the European Union. Fifty local poultry value chain actors, including a large group of vulnerable, conflict-affected people supported by the Economic Security Department of the ICRC met with the largest poultry company in Iraq, Zuhoor Al Watan. The group included displaced people, single-women households and people living with disabilities.

Bringing such a prominent business into a rural area allowed for meaningful exchanges on market requirements, quality management and packaging. Small local producers discovered how to improve their competitiveness and upgrade their business practices to sell their products at higher prices. Moreover, the local producers will be organized into an agri-business alliance before developing a viable business plan and receiving both technical and financial support for its implementation in 2023.

In Iraq, ICRC and ITC are also envisioning joint value-chain research on dairy products using a common methodology, making the best of both organizations’ respective areas of expertise.

Through their partnership, the organizations seek to open new avenues of collaborative opportunities for the benefit of affected people.


‘I believe that trade can help those affected by conflict and armed violence – help them rebuild their lives and find a better future. This requires strong partnerships with like-minded organizations. The collaboration between ITC and ICRC moves us one step closer to trade and economic prosperity that protects and includes all communities, no matter where they are located.’

Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, International Trade Centre

“With this letter of Intent, we want to mark a new stage in ICRC-ITC relations for the benefit of people affected by armed conflict and violence, including with regard to food security. Combining our complementary strengths and expertise, the ICRC and the ITC will deepen nascent cooperation to promote the economic security of communities hit by protracted crises, in particular by connecting people with existing value chains to boost income-generating opportunities and by offering opportunities to develop their skills”.

Gilles Carbonnier, Vice-President, International Committee of the Red Cross

ITC recognizes that ‘Partnerships4Purpose’ can contribute to impactful projects and sustainable outcomes. To celebrate the teamwork behind these efforts, ITC is proud to highlight game-changing initiatives that are made possible through strong and meaningful collaboration.

About the International Committee of the Red Cross: Established in 1863, the ICRC operates worldwide, helping people affected by conflict and armed violence and promoting the laws that protect victims of war. An independent and neutral organization, its mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. We are based in Geneva, Switzerland, and employ over 20,000 people in more than 100 countries. The ICRC is funded mainly by voluntary donations from governments and from National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. For more information, visit

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About the International Trade Centre: The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries to become more competitive in global markets – thus contributing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, visit  

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Media contacts

Katie Hall

Media, ITC

E: hall [at] (hall[at]intracen[dot]org)

T: +41 730 0626


Crystal Ashley Wells

Media, ICRC

E: cwells [at] (cwells[at]icrc[dot]org)