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.

Global Nutrition Event Aims to Ensure “No More Missed Opportunities”

USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener at the Nutrition Roundtable

Poor diet is 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. On October 2-3, the USCIB Foundation, the educational and research arm of USCIB, joined with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Wilton Park USA, to begin tackling this problem – a situation nutrition experts have described as a “missed opportunity” (Lancet, 2013) – through a roundtable dialogue in New York City under the banner of “No More Missed Opportunities.”

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. Every country is now struggling with some aspect of malnutrition, and a growing number are experiencing both undernutrition and obesity.

The roundtable sought to support the accelerated achievement of internationally agreed global nutrition goals, and broader commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), by convening a high-level group of leaders from government, business and other key stakeholders. Participants set themselves three objectives:

  • Discuss the draft Principles of Engagement for Government-Business Collaboration to frame and guide progress towards achievement of the food and nutrition SDG’s and the implementation of the UK Government’s commitment to Overseas Development Assistance (ODA)
  • Identify ways to improve business engagement in global nutrition goals and engage multisector platforms to specifically address food and nutrition supply chains, distribution channels, and technical and scientific research to accelerate achievement of the global nutrition goals and directly benefit ODA recipient countries
  • Forge new relationships between government and business food and nutrition leaders to kick-off a new era of constructive partnership.

In his opening remarks, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson said, “The USCIB Foundation is here looking for ways to improve and accelerate business engagement in the implementation of the global nutrition goals, which we believe is absolutely essential if we hope to achieve these goals by 2030.”

Robinson also highlighted the significance of the draft Principles of Engagement for Government-Business Collaboration, noting, “consensus around a set of principles like these would establish a framework that would encourage more joint efforts and public-private partnerships.”

While Robinson said he is “highly optimistic” about the future of nutrition, he remarked on some barriers to private-sector engagement. These include the perceived conflict of interest between business motivation for public-private partnerships and public-sector goals, lack of trust between business, governments and other stakeholders and too much regulatory red-tape, seemingly designed to deter the private sector from engaging in partnerships.

Panels throughout the dialogue focused on the knowledge revolution and data, the pace of innovation, incentives for government-business collaboration, multi-sectoral platforms that can facilitate results, and concluded with a spirited discussion of draft Principles of Engagement to guide further discussion.

It is hoped that these principles will serve as a platform to enable further, more pointed conversations and serve as a model example for other institutions from a good governance perspective. USCIB and the USCIB Foundation will continue conversations and action with our partners in this dialogue to ensure progress towards our shared goals.

The event was hosted by the Harvard Club.

Roundtable participants. USCIB President and CEO Peter M Robinson front row, sixth from left, alongside representatives from GAIN and WiltonPark

USCIB’s “International Business” Summer 2017 Issue

USCIB’s “International Business” Summer 2017 issue is now live!

The Summer 2017 issue features USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson‘s column on “Why International Organizations Matter to Your Business” as well as articles on developments in the B20, NAFTA and the UN high level political forum and the sustainable development agenda, 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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USCIB Highlights Business Role at UN Sustainable Development Meetings

ICC Secretary General John Danilovich opens the UN SDG Business Forum

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) were created to measure progress and achievements towards a sustainable future through a series of 17 goals adopted by the UN General Assembly under the moniker Agenda 2030.  During this year’s annual UN High-Level Political Forum, held from July 10 – 19 at UN headquarters in New York, the UN Secretariat worked with member states to discuss paths to implementation and to track progress on the SDGs. USCIB and its members were on the ground during the HLPF highlighting the role of engaging all business sectors to advancing environmental, economic and social cooperation for the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener supported USCIB’s longtime partner, the International Agri-Food Network (IAFN), on their event focusing on SDG2, Ending Hunger, during their side-event, Agriculture and Food Day on July 13. IAFN partnered with leading organizations to host this event to celebrate, discuss, negotiate, analyze, and brainstorm around the role of the agricultural and food sector in relation to the implementation of the SDGs. Agriculture and Food Day summarized the importance of targeting the agricultural sector and food issues to reach the SDGs by 2030. IAFN has been a consistent champion for a stand-alone goal on sustainable agriculture and food security.

However, “solutions cannot address just one goal, but must look to make a difference to several at once,” noted Michener.  “The purpose of Agriculture and Food Day was to examine how focusing on agricultural and food policy could achieve not only Goal 2 but make substantive contributions to the achievement of the other 16 goals.  Investments made in agriculture — the dominant occupation for the world’s poorest people — can accomplish much beyond Goal 2, including improvements in health, incomes, trade, infrastructure, and the environment,” he said.

USCIB policy experts and members also joined the SDG Business Forum on July 18, the first business-organized meeting held in the UN’s General Assembly Hall. Speakers from the UN, governments, NGOs and business discussed private sector investment, information sharing and public-private partnership to take forward the 17 SDGs.  The Forum was organized by the Global Business Coalition for 2030, a coalition of major business organizations and the UN Global Compact, facilitated by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

Speaking to the HLPF, USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment Norine Kennedy stated, “Innovation, infrastructure, economic growth and empowerment and good governance are the four inter-linked cornerstones for all 17 SDGs for business. Therefore it is crucial to consult with private sector groups at the national and regional level to develop enabling frameworks for business actions to advance the SDGs,” she said. Over 40 countries submitted national reports this year on their progress towards the SDGs.

Many of the speakers echoed the sentiment that neither the SDG’s nor the wider 2030 Agenda can be achieved without active participants of non-state actors, including business and industry, to drive  inclusive economic growth and prosperity.

In his remarks to the HLPF, ICC Secretary General John Danilovich noted, “There can be no doubt that the private sector means business when it comes to the SDG’s. Since their inception, I’ve said the SDG’s should be known as the BDG’s, the Business Development Goals, and that’s because their achievement represents a clear economic imperative. Business engagement on the UN SDG’s is not only a powerful way to enhance society’s trust but also a great business opportunity. Achieving the SDG’s opens up $12 trillion in market opportunity in sectors such as food, energy, health and cities.”

USCIB member KPMG’s Nick Chism, deputy head of Global Sales and Markets and global chair of Infrastructure, Government & Healthcare, discussed the importance of creating business-friendly environment and opportunities, indicating that enabling environments will lead to more private sector investment.

For this year’s HLPF, USCIB members, including Bechtel, Cargill, Citi, Hilton, Monsanto, Novozymes and Pirelli, added new examples of actions to advance the SDGs to USCIB’s Businessfor2030 web platform.

USCIB’s Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner also attended an event, Accelerating Women’s Economic Empowerment to Achieve the 2030 Agenda, which was organized by ICC and UN Women – the global champion for gender equality. For many women around the world, ICT’s can be leveraged for personal security, better access to education and jobs, financial inclusion and access to basic healthcare information. But benefits such as these rely on women having meaningful access to ICT which can be facilitated or prevented by several factors, including affordability, relevant content, skills and security. The event showcased the global efforts stakeholders have embarked on to bring women’s economic empowerment to the forefront of all the SDG targets.

“Through innovation, investment and development of products and services, the private sector plays an important role in advancing gender equality and improving the lives of women,” said Wanner.

ICC highlighted several private sector initiatives during the side-event that are catalyzing women’s economic empowerment in developed and developing countries and presented the role of ICT’s in advancing the SDG’s. For additional information on this event, please visit ICC’s website.

USCIB Supports HLPF Side-Event on Agriculture and Food

With the UN High-Level Political Forum taking place in New York from July 10-19, USCIB has been on the ground, starting with Agriculture and Food Day, an event hosted by the International Agri-food Network (IAFN) on July 13, which summarized the importance of targeting the agricultural sector and food issues in order to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

The SDGs help to guide people and the planet towards a sustainable future, and they were created to measure progress and achievements towards this series of 17 goals adopted by the UN General Assembly under the moniker Agenda 2030.  During the High-Level Political Forum, the UN Secretariat works with its member states to discuss paths to implementation and to track progress on the SDGs.  IAFN has advocated for several years during the SDG development process on the need for a stand-alone goal on sustainable agriculture and food security; this goal is SDG2, Ending Hunger.

However, “solutions cannot address just one goal, but must look to make a difference to several at once,” noted Mike Michener, USCIB’s vice president for product policy and innovation who also covers USCIB’s work on health and food and agriculture. “The purpose of Agriculture and Food Day was to examine how focusing on agricultural and food policy could achieve not only Goal 2 but also make substantive contributions to the achievement of the other 16 goals.  Investments made in agriculture — the dominant occupation for the world’s poorest people — can accomplish much beyond Goal 2, including improvements in health, incomes, trade, infrastructure, and the environment,” he said.

IAFN partnered with a number of leading organizations to host “Agriculture and Food Day” to celebrate, discuss, negotiate, analyze, and brainstorm around the role of the agricultural and food sector in relation to the implementation of the SDGs. The day included a thematically-focused plenary session with high-level speakers including high-ranking UN diplomats, a series of roundtable discussions on inter-linkages in SDGs, and a dynamic luncheon featuring of youth in agriculture with the goal to raise awareness of the critical need for investment in Goal 2, Zero Hunger. IAFN hosted the event with the Farming First coalition, a group that advocates for agriculture programs to be farmer-centered and knowledge-based.

USCIB is also participating in the SDG Business Forum on July 18.