Research Paper 49, January 2014

Public-private Partnerships in Global Health: Putting Business before Health?

Public and private sector interaction in health has always existed at the national level; in the United Nations (UN) system, public-private partnerships (PPPs) started at the end of the 1990s with the reform of the UN system launched by Kofi Annan. In response to Resolution 55/215 “Towards global partnerships” the United Nations General Assembly asked the Secretary General “to seek the views of all Members States on ways and means to enhance cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners, in particular the private sector, on how to enhance cooperation with the United Nations”. The introduction of the report of the Secretary General states that “ [o]ver the past decade (…) there has been an increase in the number of non-state actors interacting with the United Nations (…) such as through consultative status with governing bodies, procurement contracts, and philanthropic-based fund raising activities” and reiterates later on that “[t]he number, diversity and influence of non-state actors has grown dramatically over the past 10 years” and concludes that “[s]pecial efforts are needed to ensure that cooperation with business community and other non-state actors adequately reflects the Organization’s membership and pays particular attention to the needs and priorities of developing countries.”


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