24 April 2006

United Nations, United States Chamber of Commerce Co-Host Forum on Role of Private Sector in International Aid, Development

NEW YORK, 21 April (UNFIP) -- The United States Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) and the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP) joined hands to bring together multinational corporations, United Nations agencies and thought leaders to discuss ways to increase effectiveness in public-private partnerships.

The day-long event took place on 19 April at United Nations Headquarters in New York and attracted 115 participants from the private sector, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, including the World Bank, the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and think tanks.

The Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Ann Veneman, gave the keynote address.  Co-hosts included UNFIP Executive Director Amir Dossal and the United States Chamber members Lieutenant General (Retired) Daniel W. Christman and Arthur J. Rothkopf, who all addressed the group.

Ms. Veneman stressed the importance of partnerships for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  Quoting an African proverb, she noted: "If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together."

There was unanimous agreement that the private sector is a major actor in global poverty reduction, with economic development and growth being widely cited at the forum as the key to sustainable development.  A second dominant theme was the need to tie aid more closely with humanitarian impact, and for each participating body -- companies, multilateral organizations and Governments -- to remain focused on their core competencies and unique roles in partnerships.

"We started by talking about the role of the private sector in international aid and we ended by talking about how international aid can lead to market development," said BCLC Executive Director Stephen Jordan.  "This is part of a sea change that is transforming thinking about how global corporate social responsibility and philanthropy can help low income regions truly become emerging markets."

"Wealth creation needs to replace the poverty eradication mantra", said Mr. Dossal, "We need to think out of the box and set up bold new initiatives for increasing investment and creating sustainable livelihoods in developing countries.  Working together on projects, we can make a real difference on the ground."

Round-table discussions covered the obstacles to and strategies for private sector investment in developing countries, as well as recommendations from businesses and United Nations agencies on how each can work more effectively with each other.

Abbott Laboratories, Booz Allen Hamilton, DaimlerChrysler and Merck & Co., Inc. sponsored the forum.

The Business Civic Leadership Center is a 501(c) (3) affiliate of the United States Chamber of Commerce.  Its mission is to advance the positive role of business in society.  Visit .  The United States Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation, representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region. Visit .

The United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP) promotes new United Nations partnerships and alliances worldwide.  Established by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in March 1998, UNFIP is an autonomous trust fund, set up to serve as the interface between the United Nations system and the United Nations Foundation (UNF), the public charity responsible for administering, over a period of 15 years, Ted Turner's $1 billion contribution in support of United Nations causes.  Over the years, UNFIP has expanded its functions to provide a "one-stop" service for partnership opportunities with the United Nations family. Visit .

For more information contact Catherine Taylor, Business Civic Leadership Center, tel: 202-463-3133, e-mail: ; or Camilla Schippa, Chief of Office, UNFIP, e-mail: , tel: 212-963-3441.

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