A Lever to Move the World: JCI Global Partnership Summit

July 10, 2010

Leaders agree it’s time for a change. What can you do to help make it happen?

Between the 12 speakers and 19 special guests from 16 different organizations or companies, delegates of the 2010 JCI Global Partnership Summit received some very special perspectives on the subject of global partnerships. But to create the positive change the world needs, they are going to need your help.

Read on for some of the valuable lessons from the Summit and find out what role you must take to contribute to help the world Be Better.

Facing the Challenges of the MDGs

Recognizing a need is the first step to creating positive change. By working through the framework of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), you can identify issues in your community.

Keynote speaker Gillian Sorensen, Senior Adviser at the United Nations Foundation, acknowledged the importance of finding these challenges.

“Think of the MDGs both in the global context and the local context,” she said. “I would urge you to think first close to home to see what you can do to analyze those goals and to select one or two or, at the most, three that apply most particularly to your home situation and target that.”

Vice President of International Government Relations for The Coca-Cola Company Afzaal Malik, for instance, highlighted balancing profit and environmental impact as a concern of great importance to his company. Malik revealed during his speech that the Coca-Cola is committed to MDG 7 by “returning to nature an amount of water that’s equivalent to the amount we use in our beverages and in production,” which reduces the impact on local ecosystems. Of the 900 Coca-Cola bottling plants around the world, 75% have wastewater treatment facilities that return water pure enough to support aquatic life.

Dr. Jack Watters, Vice President for External Medical Affairs at Pfizer, emphasized the importance of sustainability as a business model.

“None of this is driven by profit, none of this is driven by making any money out of it, but what we have recognized is we have these resources…we have the people and we have funding and if we partner together with the right people, we can make a difference,” Watters said.

Environmental sustainability, however, was far from the only challenge addressed by the speakers. Malik also presented Coca-Cola’s efforts to advance MDG 3: gender equality. Coca-Cola empowers entrepreneurs in Africa using independent distributors and creates gender equality by increasing female employment in these companies.

Dr. Watters focused on Pfizer’s efforts to eradicate malaria, an issue central to MDG 6.

“Malaria is 100% preventable,” Watters said. “Malaria is 100% curable, and we need to dedicate our resources to doing that. And I believe that, in partnership with the public sector and the private sector…we can eradicate malaria, and that should be our goal.”

JCI members took a step in the right direction at the Summit, raising more than $18,000 for JCI Nothing But Nets, but it’s up to you to continue the fight in your own hometown.

The Importance of Partnership

Developing cross-sector relationships is not only vital to the eradication of malaria, but to meeting the challenges of all the MDGs.

“It would be impossible for the UN to address all of these goals without the NGO partners in many, many ways,” Gillian Sorensen said.

Malik confirmed that companies like Coca-Cola are also looking to build partnerships, saying, “If we’re going to succeed in maintaining a sustainable business over time, we have to find the common interests in what we do.”

Identifying like-minded individuals and organizations will be vital to your ability to create a powerful impact in your community. Sorensen encouraged JCI Local Organizations to reach out to potential partners.

“Join forces with other responsible groups in your community to raise awareness and raise funds, to take action and to begin a dialogue,” Gillian Sorensen said. “Make sure you understand beforehand what is really needed to make change happen.”

You, JCI and the Change We Can Make

You have the power to take these lessons and apply them to your Local Organization, work with existing JCI partners and proactively pursue impactful relationships of your own. Watters affirmed the importance of the action of JCI members like you, especially in relation to fighting malaria.

“Organizations like JCI have an enormous role to play,” Watters said. “If we come together, bringing our own special expertise, we can eradicate malaria.”

Special guest UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon agreed, saying, “Among all the threats we face, there are also vast new possibilities for common progress. JCI has a special presence because of the youth of its membership.”

You and your fellow young active citizens must come together with partners new and old to amplify our impact and expand the breadth of the change we can create.

Ted Sorensen, a former adviser to US President John F. Kennedy, summed up the purpose of creating partnerships for change.

“Making a difference is more difficult and that’s what JCI is all about,” he said

Gillian Sorensen advocated local action.

“If we do that community by community, country by country…I believe we have the possibility to change the world,” she said. It is difficult but not impossible. I know this because I am familiar with the spirit of JCI.”

Read the full Summit Declaration and learn more about JCI’s partnerships.

[Quoted From https://www.jci.cc/guests/en/16610/A-Lever-to-Move-the-World:-JCI-Global-Partnership-Summit]