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Int'l Public Health Scientist to Brief NZ Govt

Media Release: 24 May 2017

International Public Health Scientist to Brief NZ Govt, CEOs on Resolving Social Issues

An international scientist says New Zealand can solve many of its social problems by encouraging cooperation between government, local charities, and the private sector, and is well positioned to provide a greater role in emergency response and specific health challenges in the Pacific region.

Dr Lisa Bonadonna is in the country to brief NZ CEOs and Government Ministers at Parliament on the benefits of collaboration in solving a range of health, education and social issues.

Dr Bonadonna says there is a body of evidence globally which suggests one sector on its own cannot effectively address these societal challenges, something reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals call for cross sector partnerships.

She says New Zealand corporations can adopt a ‘shared value’ strategy by recognising business opportunities in addressing social problems.

“While traditional philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility efforts emphasise ‘giving back’, the shared value approach focuses business leaders on the competitive and sustainable value of solving social issues.

“In collaboration with governments and NGOs, companies can use their particular expertise and scale to implement real change in society,” she says.

She says the economic benefits for the corporate sector include talent recruitment and retention, opening of new markets, access to new customers, more relevant innovation, as well as brand recognition for their efforts.

Dr Bonadonna, is employed by GSK and leads the global partnership with Non-Government Organisation (NGO) Save the Children with the objective of helping to save the lives of 1 million children with activities in 41 countries - including some in the Pacific Islands.

Dr Bonadonna will deliver a briefing to NZ CEOs and MPs outlining a structure under which cooperation can be effectively facilitated across key sectors in an economy.

“NZ Ministers are interested in the shared value piece, understanding how to engage the private sector in tackling social challenges and how we make it work.”

“I’m going to be speaking about the ways in which corporations can help in the social sector and how globally, businesses are using their resources to help achieve social outcomes.”

Dr Bonadonna says during any natural disaster, conflict or emergency setting it is the children who suffer most.

“One way we help Save the Children is to provide the resource they need to be able to deploy within the first 72 hours - the critical time phase if lives are to be saved.

“By pre-approving emergency response funds in advance, and supporting the establishment of Emergency Health Units, those on the front line are better prepared and have more immediate access to the resources they need to do their job,” she says.

Dr Bonadonna says New Zealand is well equipped to be a leader in this kind of relief effort.

“If you look at New Zealand and its ability to respond to disasters it really is world leading. You know how to tackle emergency challenges and have the reputation, skill and capability in public health as well, which makes for a powerful combination to tackle, in particular, the health challenges in the region.

“I think NZ will play an integral role in how the region develops and responds to emergencies, and in long-term disaster recovery, the services in NZ are exemplary,” she says.

Dr Bonadonna says alongside disaster relief, health & nutrition, training, and education are all key areas where it makes sense for Governments, NGOs and private companies to come together and collectively solve problems in a more sustainable way.

“As a government, NGO or corporation if the moral obligation or heart is there, shared value is all about bringing the mind along, and demonstrating that only through working together can problems be wrestled and positive social change effected,” says Dr Bonadonna.

“New Zealand has a reputation for stepping up. NZ is a powerhouse in a region surrounded by countries in need and you always respond,” she says.


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