Special Event on "Philanthropy and the Global Public Health Agenda"

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held a Special Event on Philanthropy and the Global Public Health Agenda organized jointly by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the United Nations Office for Partnerships, in collaboration with the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy and the World Health Organization. The programme was held on International Corporate Philanthropy Day, 23 February 2009, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the United Nations Headquarters, New York City.

The special event served as part of the preparatory process for the ECOSOC’s 2009 Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) on “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to global public health”.

Top executives and philanthropy leaders and ECOSOC Members and other partners discussed together ways to strengthen partnerships towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) especially in areas where progress has been slow, and which can benefit from stronger multi-stakeholder participation.

The programme consisted of an opening plenary on “Building effective public-private partnerships in health”, to be followed by two leadership dialogues panels on “Improving health outcomes of women and girls” and “Raising the profile of neglected tropical diseases”. A President’s summary of the meeting’s deliberations, which captured the “key messages” from the discussion, served as an input to the High-level Segment in July 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The event had a number of co-convenors that were dedicated to promoting the meeting and strengthening multi-stakeholder partnerships in support of the internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs. These include:






Opening session: Building effective public-private partnerships in health

Introduction of leadership dialogues:

  • Mr. Sha Zukang (Video), Under-Secretary-General, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Leadership dialogues

A. Improving health outcomes of women and girls (Trusteeship Council):

  • Moderator: Ms. Betsy Pisik (Video), The Washington Times

Lead discussants:

  • Mr. Saad Houry (Video), Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF
  • Ms. Purnima Mane (Video), Deputy Executive Director, UNFPA


  • Ms. Ann Starrs (Video), President, Family Care International and Co-Chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH)
  • Mr. Gary Cohen (Video), Executive Vice-President, Becton Dickinson
  • Dr. Julian Lob-Levyt (Video), Executive Director, GAVI Alliance
  • Ms. Jane Nelson (Video), Director, Senior Fellow and Director of the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

First respondents:

  • Ms. Carol Adelman (Video), Director, Centre for Global Prosperity, Hudson Institute
  • Ms. Marianne Barner (Video), Head, IKEA Social Initiative
  • Ms. Judith Helzner (Video), Director, Population and Reproductive Health, John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Mr. Karim Khoja (Video), Chief Executive Officer, Roshan Telecom Development Company, Afghanistan

B. Raising the profile of neglected tropical diseases (ECOSOC Chamber):

  • Moderator: Mr. Matthew Bishop, Chief Business Writer and US Business Editor, The Economist

Lead discussants:

  • Dr. Lorenzo Savioli, Director, Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, WHO
  • Mr. Rakesh Nangia, Director of Operations, Human Development Network, World Bank


First respondents:

  • Ms. Kari Stoever, Managing Director, Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Sabin Vaccine Institute

Closing session

Key outcomes from break-out sessions:

  • Mr. Amir Dossal (Video), Executive Director, United Nations Office for Partnerships
  • Closing keynote address by President Bill Clinton (Video)
  • Closing statement by H.E. Ms. Sylvie Lucas (Video), President of ECOSOC