Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged business leaders in the Asia and Pacific region to support the United Nations-led global effort to improve the health of women and children to create healthier communities across the world.
“When mothers are healthy, children are healthy,” said Mr. Ban, addressing the Business Summit of private sector leaders from member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bali, Indonesia.
“When children and mothers are healthy, then communities and nations cannot but be healthy. Then whole world will be healthy. I really count on the leadership of ASEAN business leaders.”
He briefed them on the Every Woman Every Child, a global effort launched last year to mobilize and intensify global action to save the lives of 16 million women and children and improve the lives of millions more.
“Governments, business organizations, civil society organizations, committed more than $40 billion in support immediately. I believe it was possible because it is a moral imperative. The health of women and children matter, to all of us personally and fundamentally.”
“Governments have to set the stage for effective health care, to be sure. But the private sector and civil society can help deliver it,” he said.
Mr. Ban also urged more businesses in the Asia-Pacific region to join the UN Global Compact, an initiative that seeks to foster socially responsible business practices.
Earlier, the Secretary-General met with representatives of UN agencies in Indonesia – UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Population Fund, UN World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), as well as the World Bank.
He also met with the Indonesian Health Minister, Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih, with whom he discussed accelerating the country’s progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to health.
The Indonesian Government is focusing on increasing access to services through its social health insurance scheme. The country will also work with the UN to engage other governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector on health issues, including maternal mortality and malnutrition.
Separately, Mr. Ban had discussions with Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert F. del Rosario and Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong.