Twelve of the world’s leading voices for global progress and change are gathering this week for the United Nations Foundation Board of Directors meeting in Norway. The semi-annual meeting, presided over by UN Foundation Founder and Chairman Ted Turner, is taking place June 19-25 in Oslo and the northernmost regions of the country. The Board is meeting with government, corporate and nonprofit leaders to build support for UN efforts to improve global health, catalyze innovations in international development and call for global action on climate change. The Board’s discussions focus on ways to help new partners connect with the lifesaving work of the United Nations.
“Norway is a leader in tackling some of the biggest problems facing our world, and we’re proud to be cooperating so closely with the Norwegian government and the UN to improve health and education and combat climate change,” said Turner, who is also a UN Advocate for the Millennium Development Goals. “I applaud the Nordic countries for their leadership as funders of global development and supporters of the UN. They are matching rhetoric with real support, and it’s making a difference.”
The meetings are being hosted in Norway by Board member Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General Emeritus, World Health Organization and Former Prime Minister of Norway. While in Oslo, UN Foundation Board members will meet with HM King Harald V, HM Queen Sonja, HRH Crown Prince Haakon and HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit. The Board’s schedule includes a special session with Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg to map out ways to leverage Norway’s ongoing support of UN causes and innovations that improve women’s and children’s health, including significant commitments to vaccinating children in developing countries. The Board will discuss UN Foundation and UN priorities and programs as part of meetings with Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Erik Solheim, Minister for the Environment and International Development.
“The UN Foundation’s Board is a united voice for change. Having the Board in Norway sends a powerful message that we have a lot to learn from one another and can have a greater impact on the Millennium Development Goals when we work together,” said Brundtland.
The UN Foundation is participating in “New African Connections” – a high-level conference taking place in Oslo June 21-22 exploring creative solutions and partnerships in the areas of healthcare, finance and new technologies to advance development in Africa. Board members Kofi Annan, Gro Harlem Brundtland and Ted Turner are featured speakers on a keynote panel focusing on public-private partnerships and innovation in health. (For more information about the conference and the upcoming release of the Thematic Report on Innovation in the Global Campaign for the Health MDGs series, visit www.norad.no/globalcampaign.)
“We’ve got to match 21st century innovation with smart partnerships if we are going to successfully address poverty, climate change and global health,” said Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation. “This week’s meetings in Norway confirm not only how far we’ve come but how much we can do to harness the power of innovation. The Secretary-General of the UN has made innovation a priority of his Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, and the next generation depends on what we do to drive it forward.”
During the conference, the UN Foundation will preview the 2.0 version of the mHealth Alliance’s Health Unbound (HUB) website. This interactive web portal, of which the Norwegian government is a sponsor, allows people to share information and best practices about ways that mobile technology is improving delivery of healthcare to millions of people in developing countries. The conference also includes a discussion of the UN Foundation’s ongoing work to support the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves as an innovative way to improve health, economic development and environmental impact around the world. The government of Norway is one of the founding partners of the Alliance, which has already made significant progress on developing standards, increasing awareness and helping build the basis of a thriving market for clean cooking technologies around the world. The UN Foundation’s announcements during the conference include several commitments toward the UN Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health.
The UN Foundation Board trip to Norway culminates in a visit to the Svalbard archipelago in the northernmost part of the country, where Board members will meet with international scientists to discuss the effects of climate change in the Arctic. Board members will offer a live briefing following their visit to Svalbard on June 23 at 10:00am ET (for details and to RSVP, contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
On June 24, the Board will join Cary Fowler, Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, for a visit to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The UN Foundation helped establish the Global Crop Diversity Trust, an effort supported by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), to establish a universal repository of the world’s crop seeds. The Vault, which officially opened in February 2008, is designed to store duplicates of seeds from seed collections around the globe. It was created to ensure access to crops should species be lost to climate change or new plant diseases, help meet the needs of an expanding population, and provide a back-up library of seeds should any of the world’s seed collections be depleted. For more information about the Global Seed Vault, see a recent CBS News “60 Minutes” report on the initiative here.
UN Foundation Board members joining Turner, Annan, Brundtland and Wirth in Norway are Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah (Jordan), Chairperson of the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and the Jordan River Foundation; Igor Ivanov (Russia), Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Hisashi Owada (Japan), President of the International Court of Justice; Emma Rothschild (U.K.), Jeremy and Jane Knowles Professor of History at Harvard University; Nafis Sadik (Pakistan), Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General; Yuan Ming (China), Director, Institute of International Relations at Peking University; Andrew Young (U.S.A.), Chairman of Good Works International and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; and Muhammad Yunus (Bangladesh), Founder of the Grameen Bank.
For photos from the UN Foundation Board Meeting in Norway, see the image slideshow.
About the United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation builds and implements public/private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and works to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. Through campaigns and partnerships, the organization connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The campaigns reduce child mortality, empower women and girls, create a new energy future, secure peace and human rights, and promote technology innovation to improve health outcomes. These solutions are helping the UN advance the eight global targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.