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.”