WHO Briefing Focuses on Private-Sector Partnerships

L-R: IOE President Abraham Katz, Ivan Ivanov (WHO), David Bell (Centers for Disease Control), Jeffrey Gilbert (Pfizer).
L-R: IOE President Abraham Katz, Ivan Ivanov (WHO), David Bell (Centers for Disease Control), Jeffrey Gilbert (Pfizer).

Last month, USCIB hosted a high-level meeting between business representatives, senior staff from the World Health Organization and officials from the International Organization of Employers to discuss workplace and employee health initiatives, and to identify opportunities for collaboration between WHO and business.

The meeting included briefings from companies on their worldwide operations, initiatives for employees and the community within which they operate, and company participation in public-private coalitions to effect broad-based change. The WHO representatives discussed current work on workplace and employee health, including opportunities for private-sector engagement.

Since the WHO work will also be implemented with national governments – focusing on developing countries – discussion included how business can coordinate country programs with WHO national initiatives.

One model partnership is the WHO’s efforts to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of leaded gasoline in developing countrie4s, especially Africa. Major petroleum and auto companies have worked with national governments, the United Nations Environment Program, the World Bank and other bodies to make lead-free gas – along with catalytic converters and more efficient automobiles – available in Africa. The resulting improvements in air quality have directly improved the lives of around a billion people.

Also participating in the meeting were senior representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, who updated participants on the WHO’s new International Health Regulations. Revised following the SARS epidemic, these regulations constitute the international legal framework for response during such epidemics by governments, the WHO and other stakeholders. Pandemic preparedness and coordination between business, supply chains, government and international organizations were also explored.

The meeting concluded with strong agreement that business is a key stakeholder for the WHO’s work in this field, and that there are many other opportunities where collaborations and partnership could be beneficial. There are concrete actions for follow-up, and a mutual desire to maintain an ongoing dialogue.

More on the International Organization of Employers

More on USCIB’s Health Care Task Force

Staff Contact:   Ewa Staworzynska

Director, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
Tel: 212.703.5056

Ewa Staworzynska is USCIB’s Director of Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs. Staworzynska brings to USCIB her extensive policy experience from both public and private sectors. Prior to joining USCIB, she led DoorDash’s policy efforts in international markets and was in charge of diplomatic relations. Before her position at DoorDash, Staworzynska was an officer at the International Labor Organization (ILO), where she worked multilaterally to advance support for decent work and related policies at UN headquarters. Staworzynska began her career in New York working for a real estate start-up. Staworzynska will be based in USCIB’s New York office and will work with Jose Arroyo, USCIB policy associate on corporate responsibility and labor affairs, on a wide range of issues, including human rights and industrial policy, responsible business conduct, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She was born and raised in Norway and has a B.A. in Economics and M.A. in International Relations, with a specialty in International Business, from New York University.
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