|Head of IKEA Social Initiative Marianne Barner at a UN special event on philanthropy, where IKEA announced its latest donation of $48 million for UNICEF's child health and survival programmes in India.|
By Amy Bennett
NEW YORK, USA, 24 February 2009 – In lean economic times, the message at yesterday’s UN Economic and Social Council’s special event on philanthropy focused on the power of partnerships in advancing the global public health agenda.
The event also emphasized that global health must be a priority, and that philanthropic involvement will continue to be a sound financial investment.
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“The role of philanthropists and philanthropic organizations such as those here today is crucially important in advancing the global health agenda,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the participants, including representatives from major foundations and corporations. The event was held on International Corporate Philanthropy Day.
“Interests have grown from the traditional philanthropic donations to more comprehensive strategic social investments that obtain measurable results and effect lasting change,” added UNICEF’s Chief of Health, Dr. Peter Salama, at a panel on global public health.
|GAVI Alliance Executive Director Dr. Julian Lob-Levyt addresses participants at the UN philanthropy event . Beside him (from left): UNICEF Chief of Health Dr. Peter Salama and UN Population Fund Deputy Executive Director Purnima Mane.|
A lasting impact in India
The event was also an opportunity for UNICEF and IKEA to announce an expansion of the global retailer’s support for children – in the form of a $48 million donation for UNICEF programmes in some of India’s most deprived areas.
“IKEA Social Initiative is investing US$48 million in a five-year programme addressing health, nutrition, clean water and sanitation, and the aim is to reach out to more than 80 million children and young people, and more than 10 million women,” said Marianne Barner, head of the initiative, which manages IKEA’s social involvements on a global level.
With this donation, IKEA Social Initiative has become UNICEF’s biggest corporate partner, with total commitments of more than $180 million from 2000 to 2015.
“We are proud to work with UNICEF,” Ms. Barner told the participants in the UN event. “And with their vast experience in delivering results to children and their mothers, we believe our partnership will have a substantial and lasting impact in the lives of many children and their mothers.”
|Former US President Bill Clinton gives the closing keynote address at the special event on philanthropy held by the UN Economic and Social Council.|
‘Responsibility as global citizens’
By leading the way on the development of corporate partnerships, UNICEF can implement critical long-term programmes to improve children’s well-being.
At the same time, despite the global economic downturn, IKEA is setting a high standard for corporate partnership – with tangible results to show that social investments yield sound returns.
“Working in the poorest countries in the world is the least expensive thing we can do to fulfil our responsibility as global citizens,” former US President Bill Clinton said in his closing remarks at yesterday’s event. “We cannot solve the problems of the 21st century, we cannot meet the Millennium Development Goals, without the involvement of governments, corporations, the private sector and civil society.
“This is a time that we should be redoubling our effort,” Mr. Clinton asserted, “not walking away from it.”
UNICEF and IKEA