Millennium Agreement signed at conference in The Hague
IFHA, Health Insurance Fund and PharmAccess all in the picture at Ontwikkelingssamenwerking.Nu.
Closing speech of Minister Koenders at the conference.
'Today we started a new alliance’, said the Dutch Minister Bert Koenders of Development Cooperation in his closing speech on the conference Ontwikkelingssamenwerking.Nu in The Hague. On Saturday September 26th hundreds of organisations, companies and individuals discussed the need for development cooperation, especially in these times of crisis and initiated new alliances to raise the effectiveness of aid. Koenders: ‘Alliances for development, for international justice and for peace and security.’
During the conference minister Koenders co-signed these alliances, the so called Millennium Agreements, examples of modern development cooperation. In which private companies, universities, non-governmental organizations and governments join forces to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Declaration of intent
One of the Millennium Agreements Koenders referred to is a declaration of intent between the Investment Fund for Health in Africa (IFHA) and the Algemene Pensioen Groep (APG provides services for pension funds in the Netherlands). Koenders underlined the importance of this declaration in his speech. By investing in the private equity fund of IFHA APG strengthens the provision of private health care in Africa. It is a socially responsible investing that improves the health situation for people in Africa and that has interesting financial returns for APGs clients as well. IFHA is an important partner of the Health Insurance Fund and PharmAccess.
Minister Koenders, Max Coppoolse (IFHA) and Adri van der Wurff (APG) sign the declaration of intent
In his closing words Koenders also mentioned an alliance between his Ministry and TNT called ‘Moving Targets’. A program PharmAccess participates in. Moving Targets is building health clinics along important transport corridors in Africa to embed the spread of HIV/AIDS. One in three mobile workers in sub-Saharan Africa carries the virus transporting it all over Africa. The transport sector thus really fuels the epidemic.
For that reason, the CEO of this global postal and distribution company Peter Bakker, together with the World Food Program of the United Nations has founded the North Star Foundation (NSF) to effectively tackle this enormous problem. PharmAccess will partner with the NSF and a third party, Heineken in Congo to fight AIDS and improve the health status of the mobile workers on an important corridor between Kinshasa and the port of Matadi.
But the day was not just about these new alliances. It was a lively day, with over 1800 participants, full of shows, debates and clinics (amongst others a clinic hosted by the Health Insurance Fund) to review what has been achieved. Dutch celebrities (inter)national politicians, policy experts and even the Dutch Royal Prince Willem Alexander and his wife Princess Maxima came to share their view.
Plenary debate with Minister Koenders on the right and first left to him Sjoerd van Keulen
In an interesting plenary debate Koenders stressed that the effectiveness of the development programs has already improved in recent years: ‘The Health Insurance Fund is in my eyes an example of effective modern development cooperation. The pooling of resources between private and public partners resulted in improving the access to health care for communities through an innovative way: the introduction of health insurance.’ In this debate on how to shape modern aid, amongst others Sjoerd van Keulen, Chairman of IFHA and Board Member of the Health Insurance Fund participated.
Many different views where heard on the day and many different ideas where put forward on how to shape development aid. However, there was a general consensus that aid plays a vital role in helping the poor in the world. Koenders: ‘unfortunately aid has become even more important in these times of crisis. But that does not take away the fact, that we need to look at it critically and always try to find more effective ways in delivering aid.’