USCIB Event Concludes With Action Plan to Promote Food Security and Nutrition Partnerships

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson (center) speaks at the Rome event. USCIB food and agriculture lead Mike Michener (left)
This year’s event concluded with some important outcomes to help deliver results: GAIN and The USCIB Foundation are planning to take the Principles to donors such as developmental agencies, foundations, and companies interested in public-private partnerships.
USCIB will ask its member companies, with existing public-private partnerships to pilot the Principles of Engagement by applying them retroactively to the ongoing PPP.
Michener emphasized the importance of engaging the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

 

With the future of food continuing to be a pressing global challenge and malnutrition profoundly affecting every country, The USCIB Foundation once again teamed up with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to organize a public-private partnerships dialogue to tackle malnutrition. The November 8-9 dialogue in Rome, Italy was a second in a series and was built on last year’s event in New York. USCIB CEO and President Peter Robinson participated in the event alongside Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener. Robinson spoke at the opening session and took part in a fireside chat conversation with GAIN Executive Director Lawrence Haddad, who is the winner of the 2018 World Food Prize.

This year’s event featured the theme of “Together for Nutrition: applying principles for public-private engagement.” The high-level dialogue explored practical and tangible ways to implement and scale coordinated initiatives to put the draft Principles, that were agreed upon last year, into practice. The program focused on both under-nutrition and the rise of overweight and obesity, as well as the associated diet related non-communicable diseases. Leaders of governments, development agencies, and the private sector from a wide range of countries, with a particular focus on developing countries with high burdens of malnutrition, participated in the dialogue.

This year’s event concluded with some important outcomes to help deliver results. GAIN and The USCIB Foundation are planning to take the Principles to donors such as developmental agencies, foundations, and companies interested in public-private partnerships. USCIB will also ask its member companies, with existing public-private partnerships to pilot the Principles of Engagement by applying them retroactively to the ongoing PPP. Michener, who leads USCIB’s work on food and healthcare, also emphasized the importance of engaging the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“We [GAIN and USCIB] will take the Principles to the Rome-based agencies, starting with a briefing for Permanent Representatives early in 2019, followed by the FAO Program Committee and the Executive Boards of WFP and IFAD,” he said. “We also plan to take the Principles to regional meetings, with the first meeting tentatively set for Africa in late 2019.”

Global food and agriculture constitute a US$7.8 trillion industry, employing up to 40 percent of the working population in many countries yet progress towards the ambitious 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is too slow and the scale and complexity of the problem underscores the need for deepened collaboration and renewed commitment to improving nutrition outcomes for all, especially the most vulnerable,” according to Michener.

“Countries cannot achieve their SDG goals without an aligned, motivated and incentivized private sector as a key partner,” said Michener. “In this context, improved dialogue and collaboration between government, business, civil society and international organizations is crucial for guiding engagement and focusing efforts where they can have the most sustainable impact and long-term success.”

USCIB Event Concludes With Action Plan to Promote Food Security and Nutrition Partnerships

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson (center) speaks at the Rome event. USCIB food and agriculture lead Mike Michener (left)

With the future of food continuing to be a pressing global challenge and malnutrition profoundly affecting every country, The USCIB Foundation once again teamed up with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to organize a public-private partnerships dialogue to tackle malnutrition. The November 8-9 dialogue in Rome, Italy was a second in a series and was built on last year’s event in New York. USCIB CEO and President Peter Robinson participated in the event alongside Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener. Robinson spoke at the opening session and took part in a fireside chat conversation with GAIN Executive Director Lawrence Haddad, who is the winner of the 2018 World Food Prize.

This year’s event featured the theme of “Together for Nutrition: applying principles for public-private engagement.” The high-level dialogue explored practical and tangible ways to implement and scale coordinated initiatives to put the draft Principles, that were agreed upon last year, into practice. The program focused on both under-nutrition and the rise of overweight and obesity, as well as the associated diet related non-communicable diseases. Leaders of governments, development agencies, and the private sector from a wide range of countries, with a particular focus on developing countries with high burdens of malnutrition, participated in the dialogue.

This year’s event concluded with some important outcomes to help deliver results. GAIN and The USCIB Foundation are planning to take the Principles to donors such as developmental agencies, foundations, and companies interested in public-private partnerships. USCIB will also ask its member companies, with existing public-private partnerships to pilot the Principles of Engagement by applying them retroactively to the ongoing PPP. Michener, who leads USCIB’s work on food and healthcare, also emphasized the importance of engaging the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“We [GAIN and USCIB] will take the Principles to the Rome-based agencies, starting with a briefing for Permanent Representatives early in 2019, followed by the FAO Program Committee and the Executive Boards of WFP and IFAD,” he said. “We also plan to take the Principles to regional meetings, with the first meeting tentatively set for Africa in late 2019.”

Global food and agriculture constitute a US$7.8 trillion industry, employing up to 40 percent of the working population in many countries yet progress towards the ambitious 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is too slow and the scale and complexity of the problem underscores the need for deepened collaboration and renewed commitment to improving nutrition outcomes for all, especially the most vulnerable,” according to Michener.

“Countries cannot achieve their SDG goals without an aligned, motivated and incentivized private sector as a key partner,” said Michener. “In this context, improved dialogue and collaboration between government, business, civil society and international organizations is crucial for guiding engagement and focusing efforts where they can have the most sustainable impact and long-term success.”

International Business Magazine: Fall/Summer 2018

The Summer/Fall 2018 issue of USCIB’s quarterly International Business magazine is available here. The issue features a timely column by USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson titled, “The Myth of Private-Sector ‘Conflict of Interest’ at the UN. The issue also features news stories on how tariffs harm companies and consumers, tax reform impacts, and reinforcing US-China tie, plus news from our global network–Business at OECD, the International Organization of Employers and the International Chamber of Commerce.

“International Business,” USCIB’s quarterly journal, provides essential insight into major trade and investment topics, a high-level overview of USCIB policy advocacy and services, USCIB member news and updates from our global business network.

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Donnelly Talks Trade and Diplomacy (and Soybeans) in Podcast Interview

Shaun Donnelly
The “American Diplomat” series seeks to give listeners greater appreciation of the work done by American diplomats and public servants.
Host Peter Romero leads Donnelly through an informal discussion of the nuts and bolts of trade negotiations.

 

USCIB Vice President Shaun Donnelly is featured in a recent interview on the podcast “American Diplomat” demystifying trade policy and negotiations for listeners outside the beltway. The “American Diplomat” series is supported by the American Academy of Diplomacy, which counts among its members both Donnelly and USCIB Vice Chair Thomas Niles, longtime U.S. diplomats who each achieved the ranks of ambassador and assistant secretary. It seeks to give listeners around the country greater appreciation of the work done by American diplomats and public servants – in this case trade negotiators – to advance America’s, and Americans’, interests.

In the podcast interview, host Peter Romero (a retired U.S. ambassador and assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere) leads Shaun through an informal discussion of the nuts and bolts of trade negotiations, with soybeans arising often as an example how any specific products factor into broad trade policy.

Donnelly claims to have enjoyed the discussion. “Over the years, I’ve done a fair number of speeches, panels and interviews trying to help build public understanding and support for an aggressive, pro-engagement, pro-growth trade policy, and have not always succeeded,” he noted with a self-deprecating chuckle. “I found this more informal, extended conversation format with Peter and his colleague Laura Bennett allowed more opportunity to get behind the sound bite, the bumper sticker and the talking point. Trade remains a complex, controversial and politicized topic these days. All of us who believe in open trade and investment policies need to keep reaching out to help build public understanding and support for common sense trade policies. I hope this sort of podcasts can make a modest contribution to the public discourse on trade.”

Michener Focuses on Health, Food and Agriculture

Over the past three weeks, a number of important meetings took place in a wide variety of multilateral organizations, on topics ranging from nutrition policy to genome editing. Mike Michener, USCIB’s vice president for product policy and innovation, leads USCIB work in health care, food and agriculture and represented the private sector’s view and interests in each of the following events:

  • On June 19-20, the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) hosted an Experts Group Meeting (EGM) on Nutrition and the SDGs in preparation for the 2018 High Level Political Forum. Michener presented several case studies of private sector partnerships and efforts on the relationship of nutrition to SDGs 6 (water), 7 (energy), 11 (cities), 12 (sustainable consumption), and 15 (biodiversity). Michener also participated in a panel discussion on implications for investments, policies and programming where he addressed the issue of private sector conflict of interest and provided balance to the EGM’s recommendations to the HLPF.
  • On June 19, the International Food and Beverage Alliance hosted a dinner and dialogue at the Harvard Club in New York on the topic of the contribution of the private sector to the global effort to prevent and control Non-Communicable Diseases. Representatives from Italy and Uruguay, who serve as the co-facilitators for the Third High-level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases, shared a progress update with participants.
  • On June 25, the OECD hosted a G20 Workshop on Obesity with the theme of “Making Healthy Choices the Easy Choices”, which included panel discussions on consumer choice, food product improvement, and G20-wide actions to address the issue of obesity. USCIB Food and Agriculture Committee Co-Chair Diego Ruiz addressed PepsiCo’s engagement in constructive dialogue with governments and international organizations.
  • On June 26, Michener attended the Business at OECD Health Committee meeting, and contributed to discussions on proactive steps to address OECD initiatives on obesity, NCDs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and public health economics. Planning is underway for the Business at OECD 3rd Annual Forum on Health.
  • On June 28-29, OECD hosted a Conference on Genome Editing focusing on applications in agriculture and implications for health, the environment, and regulation. Leading scientists from governments, industry, and academia presented global developments in genome editing in agriculture in crop plants to improve culture and quality traits or enhance disease resistance, and in farm animals (chickens and cattle) and aquatic systems.
  • On July 5, the President of the UN General Assembly hosted a Civil Society Hearing in preparation for the High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (HLM-NCDs). Michener observed a number of panel discussions on actions to prevent and control NCDs, financing, promotion of multi-sectoral partnerships, and political leadership and accountability.

“As an increasing number of multilateral organizations take an anti-business stance when it comes to the private sector role in intergovernmental negotiations, USCIB will continue to engage and advocate for the inclusion of business and industry in these crucial discussions,” said Michener. “Business and industry is the engine of innovation that will address issues like food and nutrition security and NCDs, so it is critically important to have business at the table to help identify and promote global solutions in order to fully achieve the SDGs by 2030. We appreciate the robust participation of our members in these important multilateral events.”

New Co-Chairs for USCIB’s Food and Agriculture Working Group

Washington, D.C., July 10, 2018 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most innovative and successful global companies, announced that two leading corporate experts on global food and nutrition policy have been recruited to chair its Food and Agriculture Working Group.

Sylvia Aguilera, director of international public affairs for McDonald’s Corporation, and Diego T. Ruiz, vice president for global public policy and government affairs with PepsiCo, will provide volunteer leadership for the working group, which is made up of corporate and other private-sector executives from USCIB’s broad-based membership.

USCIB’s Food and Agriculture Working Group seeks to promote an open and efficient global food system. It does so by providing industry expertise to government officials working to eliminate existing barriers to agricultural trade and investment, and by fostering coordination among organizations working to ensure a safe food supply, meaningful food security and enhanced environmental sustainability.

“We are delighted to have both Diego and Sylvia leading our work on food and agricultural policy at this critical juncture,” said Michael Michener, USCIB’s vice president for product policy and innovation, who provides lead staff support for the working group. “We are in the midst of important shifts in technology, consumer tastes and global trade patterns in food and agriculture. USCIB’s role in this area is growing, as international agencies play an increasing role in establishing rules and best practices for food production and distribution.”

Prior to joining McDonald’s, Aguilera led a technology policy organization dedicated to increasing access to technology by underserved communities. She has also held executive-level positions at various organizations including the multicultural public relations firm Comunicad, where she provided counsel to Fortune 500 companies.

Prior to joining PepsiCo, Ruiz was executive director of the Securities and Exchange Commission, serving as chief operating officer of the principal law enforcement and regulatory agency for the U.S. securities markets. He previously held senior positions with the Federal Communications Commission and at Univision Communications Inc., and as a senior advisor in the U.S. House of Representatives.

USCIB’s Food and Agriculture Working Group will hold its first meeting under Ruiz and Aguilera’s leadership on July 19 in Washington, D.C.

About USCIB:
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world, generating $5 trillion in annual revenues and employing over 11 million people worldwide. As the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers and Business at OECD, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.

Contact:
Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
+1 212.703.5043, jhuneke@uscib.org

USCIB Mission to Geneva Targets UN Agencies

In an effort to ensure inclusivity and transparency of international policy deliberations for business at the United Nations, USCIB organized a Geneva “door knock” meeting to UN and multilateral institutions last week, bringing together a USCIB delegation of members and staff to meet with UN agencies, officials in the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and other important government representatives in order to highlight American policy priorities and concerns. The topical areas and issues of concern included food and agriculture, healthcare, intellectual property and innovation, sustainability, environment and chemicals, and trade.

USCIB presented itself as a unique business organization, affiliated with ICC, IOE and Business at OECD (BIAC), and constructively involved in an array of UN institutions, with positive examples of the benefits of such engagement. USCIB members spoke to how U.S. business innovation, investment, and partnership deliver global progress advancing economic benefits in the U.S. and globally, with examples found on USCIB’s Businessfor2030 web platform, and argued for enabling frameworks of policy, markets and governance.

The USCIB member delegation met with the World Health Organization (WHO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the World Trade Organization, and UN Environment, as well as country missions, including the U.S., UK, Japan and Brazil.

The delegation was led by USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Environment and Energy Norine Kennedy, Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener, Senior Director for Membership Alison Hoiem, and Policy Assistant Mia Lauter. USCIB members include representatives from Cargill, AbINBev, CropLife, Ferrero, Sidley and GMA.

Watch Michener’s report from the field below!

Official Report from USCIB Nutrition Event Now Published

Wilton Park USA, in partnership with the USCIB Foundation and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), has published a report as follow up to last October’s successful joint dialogue on “No More Missed Opportunities: Advancing Public-Private Partnerships to Achieve the Global Nutrition Goals.” The report summarizes the details of the meeting as well as the “Principles of Engagement,” which were developed during the meeting to provide a useful framework through which to approach future public-private partnership and a valuable reference point for developing effective solutions.

The report concludes that “effective partnerships and better nutrition outcomes can be facilitated through policy and legislative frameworks more conducive to collaboration. This could include better application of the clout of financiers, shareholders, and consumers on the business side and constituencies, NGOs, and civil servants on the government side.”

“Every country is now struggling with some aspect of malnutrition, and a growing number are experiencing both undernutrition and obesity,” said USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener, who leads USCIB’s policy work on nutrition, food and health. “The roundtable sought to support the accelerated achievement of internationally agreed global nutrition goals, and broader commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by convening a high-level group of leaders from government, business and other key stakeholders.”

This meeting aimed to tackle the problem of poor diet as the number one risk factor for early death, contributing to 20 percent of global deaths, with the burden falling disproportionately on children under five and women of reproductive age, a situation nutrition experts have described as a “missed opportunity” (Lancet, 2013). Each year, malnutrition is a factor in almost half of the six million deaths of children under five, and 159 million children are stunted, with impacts on their physical and cognitive abilities that last a lifetime. More than 500 million women are anemic, with an increased risk of maternal death and delivering premature and low-birth-weight babies. At the same time, 600 million adults are obese, and 420 million have diabetes, with rates rising steeply.

USCIB Meets with OECD Director to Discuss Health Work

USCIB’s Food and Agriculture and Healthcare Working Groups met last week with Stefano Scarpetta, director of Employment, Labor and Social Affairs for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The meeting reinforced longstanding USCIB and Business at OECD cooperation in other issue areas and the need to improve the engagement between business and the OECD Health Committee.

USCIB outlined four areas of recommendations to Scarpetta in the hopes of improving future interactions with member states and the health division secretariat, including helping member states understand the role of Business at OECD and its national affiliates, tracking input from Business at OECD and national affiliates, increasing diversity in perspectives among OECD health division staff and better use of OECD expert groups.

“The OECD benefits from broad input from the private sector on its work on health policy.  We believe that increasing the number and diversity of business representatives allowed to attend OECD Health Committee and related expert group meetings can only improve OECD’s work in the health sector,” said Mike Michener, USCIB’s vice president for Product Policy and Innovation who leads USCIB’s work on health, food and agriculture.

Michener noted that while concerns remain, good progress was made in initiating an improved dialogue with the OECD Health Committee going forward.

Business at OECD Calls for Integrated Health Policies to Stimulate Growth and Productivity

OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria (left) makes remarks at the Health Forum

Well-designed health policies that are put into practice are essential for the growth and productivity of our economies and the well-being of our societies. This was the main message from private sector, government representatives, and the OECD gathered for the 2nd Business at OECD (BIAC) Annual Forum on Health.

The Forum saw the work undertaken by the private sector to develop truly integrated healthcare, foster innovation, and promote balanced choices for improving well-being. “The digital transformation of healthcare systems will provide fresh opportunities for better care, newer treatments and greater focus on the needs of patients,” said Nicole Denjoy, chair of the BIAC Health Committee. “To achieve this, we need policies that create the right incentives and collaborative environments to drive investment in innovation and technology” she added.

Experts also addressed efforts to encourage balanced nutrition and active lifestyles as an important part of the fight against non-communicable diseases. Speakers stressed the critical role that policy coherence in the fields of health, trade, finance, industry, and education sectors plays in supporting growth and productivity. Commenting on the role of international collaboration, OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría stated, “Poor health harms people, lowers productivity, and ultimately undermines growth. The OECD is supporting the business community’s efforts to help shape the future of health policy and promote good employee and customer health”.

Also addressing Forum participants, World Intellectual Property Organization Director General Francis Gurry said “Innovation is vital for addressing the health challenges of today and tomorrow. But the innovation we need is more complex than ever before and requires greater collaboration, benefiting from a wide range of knowledge and expertise. We must provide a framework for bringing new medicines and technologies from concept and creation to production and patients. Intellectual property, in particular patents, are a necessary encouragement to this innovation.”

The Forum was moderated by Riz Khan, international journalist and TV host.