UN launches innovation working group in KL, part of global initiative
By Digital News Asia June 3, 2013
- Asian Innovation Working Group (aIWG) to support ‘Every Woman, Every Child’ initiative led by UN Sec-Gen
- Will seek to capitalise on technological and business innovations to better the lot of women and children
THE United Nations has launched the Asian Innovation Working Group (aIWG), a branch of the Innovation Working Group, in conjunction with the Women Deliver conference in Kuala Lumpur.
The working group will support the Every Woman, Every Child initiative spearheaded by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to mobilise and intensify global action towards the improvement of health amongst women and children around the world, the UN said in a statement.
“To this very day, millions of women and children around the world are dying from preventable causes on an annual basis, a situation which simply cannot continue,” said Mark Kelly, co-chair of the aIWG and senior operations director, South Asia Pacific Region, World Vision International.
“All of us therefore have the responsibility to do more and to make the suffering of impoverished women and children, wherever they may be, a thing of the past,” he added.
A component of the global Innovation Working Group, the aIWG’s mission is to foster cooperation amongst organisations:
- TO develop and scale up service and educational initiatives amongst needy communities;
- ENSURE links to external organisations, political processes and innovation pipelines;
- ADVOCATE for political and practical interests in the continued need for cost-effective investments in women’s and children’s health; and
- TO establish thematic task forces to ensure their functionality and execution.
Its four primary tasks will be to identify viable areas of innovation in the region and define priorities; provide engaged consultation between regional stakeholders; identify and procure sustained funding and resources to support Asian initiatives; and to develop a framework of cooperation and knowledge sharing which will benefit the greater global community.
Previous task forces of the IWG have delivered reports on checklists, medical devices and sustainable business models.
Moving forward the IWG will seek to capitalise on significant technological and business innovations, the UN said.
Many low- and middle-income countries are now taking the lead in making significant reductions in maternal and neonatal mortality by innovating. These efforts vary from the creation of financial incentives to promote performance and results, to the innovative use of mobile phones and other communications tools to deliver critical assistance to those in need.
Innovations can also come from reconceiving products and markets and reconfiguring ways to deliver necessary interventions more effectively.
Mobile phones are simple one example of how innovation has created unprecedented potential for scaled-up assistance and many nations are currently exploring the use of mobile phones for various health purposes, such as providing live electronic medical advice and alerts as well as in advancing health literacy of both families and service providers worldwide.
On a global level, the IWG is a catalytic partnership which includes nearly 183 individual members representing 79 institutions, including 20 non-government organisations, 22 private sector corporations, 12 UN organisations, seven academic institutions and 14 ministries and governmental organisations.
These partners work together to find new, effective and efficient ways to deliver enabling ecosystems and solutions which can be brought to scale based on successful examples and pilot initiatives with long lasting benefits to women’s and children’s health, with the aIWG seeking to establish a similar ecosystem within Asia.
Kelly said added that as a rapidly emerging part of the growing global community, Asia possesses a core role in the development of positive initiatives which would benefit local communities throughout the world.
“With its possession of a growing technology sector, substantial financial resources of rapidly developing economies, and high participation of the private sector into Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, Asia has the potential to dramatically improve the situation of children and women’s poor health,” he said.
“The aim of the aIWG will thus be to tap into this dynamism to engage and leverage innovations for women’s and children’s health not only throughout Asia but around the world,” he added.
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