This section provides answers to questions frequently asked about the Partners' Forum.
- What is the Partners' Forum??
- Why is it needed?
- What is PAHO's role?
- How is it organized?
- Who can join?
- Why should I join?
- What are the criteria for membership?
- Is there an annual fee?
- How does it fit with other existing initiatives?
- What are others saying?
The Partners' Forum for Action on Chronic Disease is a catalyst for multi-sector partnerships that drive direct social, environmental, and policy action to promote health and prevent chronic diseases.
Chronic diseases have become the largest, most costly health problem facing governments, communities, and companies. They cause most of the premature deaths in the Americas region and cost hundreds of billions of dollars annually in direct and indirect costs. Still, there is insufficient awareness among the public and policymakers of how much chronic illness can be prevented.
Risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol affect entire populations. They are deeply embedded in the fabric of our society, determined by causes that lie largely outside the health sector: by the way we live and work and a combination of public policies, private sector forces, civil society, and environmental factors. Thus, reducing these risk factors requires an “all society” approach. Cross-sector partnerships, which combine the resources, competencies and reach of business with those of public health authorities and civil society organizations, can be part of the solution.
PAHO’s mission is to lead strategic collaborative efforts among Member States and other partners to promote equity in health, to combat disease, and to improve the quality of, and lengthen, the lives of the peoples of the Americas. Recognizing that some health challenges are too large and complex to be addressed by governments alone, PAHO has gradually extended the range of stakeholders (academic and scientific bodies, civil society, private industry) working with the Member States. The 2008-2012 Strategic Plan, approved in March 2009, institutionalizes this approach, calling for PAHO to strengthen existing partnerships, develop new partnerships, and create the Partners Forum.
By leading the process of establishing the Partners' Forum, PAHO acts as an institutional broker, providing all parties involved in the problem with a space for developing joint solutions.
The Partners' Forum Secretariat will be based initially within PAHO headquarters in Washington, D.C., and will be supported by PAHEF, the World Economic Forum, and the International Business Leaders Forum. The Partners' Forum Steering Group, composed of a representative group of members from different sectors, countries, and experience, will meet biannually to advise the Secretariat on strategic decisions.
The Partners' Forum will operate at the regional and sub-regional levels, providing a geographic focus to online interactions, events, dialogues and working groups.
- The Regional Forum will comprised organizations that operate on a multi-national basis (across the Americas), and will be supported by the Partners Forum Secretariat.
- National or Subregional Forums will include national-level organizations (including the relevant government agencies), the country-level operations of the multinational organizations, as well as regional companies, consumer organizations, and international NGOs working in healthy eating and active living, in heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Membership in the Partners' Forum is intentionally diverse, including PAHO countries, civil society organizations, academic and research organizations, international organizations, and private companies that are actively committed to the promotion of healthy lifestyles and to creating supportive environments for the prevention of chronic diseases. See link.
By joining the Partner' Forum, all members are able to increase the impact and innovation of their efforts to prevent chronic disease and promote healthy lifestyles. They will accelerate their engagement with critical stakeholders, develop knowledge of best practices, and build capacity for effective cross-sector partnering.
Partners' Forum members realize they cannot achieve their goals to promote health and prevent chronic diseases by working alone and that by working cooperatively they can leverage each organization’s unique contributions to achieve greater efficiency, innovation, impact, scale, and/or sustainability.
For additional information on benefits please see link.
Criteria for ongoing membership in the Partners' Forum include:
- Organizational commitment to promoting health and preventing chronic diseases (including a policy on workplace wellness, employee health or similar)
- Resource contribution (technical skills, core competencies, financial, in-kind) to Partners Forum action
- Senior-level representation (with decision-making authority) at Partners Forum activities
- High-level support (chairman/CEO/minister signature on the Partners Forum membership agreement)
Members pay an annual fee to help support the Partners' Forum’s basic operations. The fee is based on a sliding scale depending on size and sector of the organization. In addition, members are expected to contribute additional resources (technical skills, core competencies, financial, in-kind) towards collaborative action that emerges from the Partners Forum.
There are numerous excellent initiatives (Partnership Examples) that already exist to tackle chronic diseases. The Partners' Forum will create a map of “who-is-doing-what” to highlight what’s working, to avoid re-creating the wheel, to identify strategic gaps, and to promote collaboration across initiatives. In addition, the Partners Forum will support the efforts of existing initiatives to increase the involvement of cross-sector partners.
In particular, the Partners' Forum will provide a framework for the CARMEN Initiative network countries to express their needs and opportunities for technical cooperation and collaboration with partners.