The National Academies convene Forum on Public Private Partnership

Barbara Bulc delivers a keynote to inspire next-generation partnerships

At the National Academies, Lecture Room, October 24, 2019, Washington DC

The field of global public health is increasingly becoming aware of the critical importance of the private sector and innovative collective action to improve tackle complex and rapidly changing health challenges globally. The UN Sustainable Development goals provide a first-ever global framework for systems transformation, with the Sustainable Development Goal 17 specifically focused on mobilizing global partnerships across all sectors for shared prosperity.


At the invitation the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), Barbara Bulc delivered a keynote to reimagine ways of working together to tackle growing systems challenges.  She observed “The systems we have built are failing. It is urgent to rethink our value systems – instead of valuing sick care we should value the wellbeing of people and planet and ‘dance with the systems’ ” reminding participants of Donella Meadows’s book Systems Thinking, and the groundbreaking 1972 Limits of Growth report.


Highlighting the importance of systems thinking she was joined by Emmanuel Nyirinkindi, Director of Transaction Advisory Services at the, who spoke about the enabling role of the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group. The Forum on Public-Private Partnerships for Global Health and Safety (PPP Forum) was co-chaired by Allison Goldberg, Executive Director, AB InBev Foundation and Clarion Johnson, Exxon Mobil.


Keynote presentation by Barbara Bulc, GD



This year, special focus was on enabling environments to develop partnerships that deliver social and economic value at national, municipal and community levels. Practical sessions, starting with examples from Congo and Kenya, each brought key stakeholders sharing a range of challenges and opportunities. Speakers included leading global businesses Medtronic, Phillips, Merck, and Becton Dickinson; the government representatives from West and East Africa; and diverse public and private intermediaries essential for catalyzing shared vision and partnership. Additionally, local business owners who distribute the products from the larger business, or that develop their own businesses within a region, were also brought in to discuss the conditions they need at the local level to form sustainable business models. Intermediaries that work to facilitate global partnerships gave a broader view of how partnerships are enabled.


The Forum on Public-Private Partnerships for Global Health and Safety was launched in the fall of 2013 by the National Academies. Its aim since then has been to reflect on the growing role of the private sector in contributing to diverse global health initiatives. The National Academy of Sciences was founded in 1863 by President Lincoln, to investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science to the nation. As science began to play an ever-increasing role in national priorities and public life, it expanded to include the National Research Council and the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine.


All of the PPP Forum’s convenings have been recorded and are available as reports and videos.


Additional Resources:


Agenda for the Forum on Public-Private Partnerships