Top-level participants gather for Corporate Affairs Forum

PublicAffairsAsia has hosted the third corporate affairs forum in Singapore which focused on the fast developing area of public-private partnership and stakeholder engagement.

Over 130 top-level participants from corporations, governmental agencies and the non-governmental community gathered at The Fullerton Hotel to debate and discuss the process of forming PPPs between stakeholders in Asia Pacific.

The event was opened by Alistair Nicholas, vice president of Weber Shandwick in Asia Pacific, who discussed how CSR was developing towards a system based on shared value between all sectors.

The conference also heard from Monica Marshall, deputy director, global head of public private partnerships at the United Nations World Food Programme. Marshall opened the key plenary session by illustrating the essential steps required to create a culture of public-private partnership.

The event was sponsored by lead sponsor Weber Shandwick and lead industry sponsor Food Industry Asia, whose executive director Bev Postma led the opening session which included Tod Gimbel, managing director and head of global government affairs Asia, Citibank.

Other sponsorsing organisations and partners included AmCham Singapore, Syngenta, Mondelez, eBay, Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, Eurocham and IMA Asia.

Top level case studies

The audience heard a double case study from lead NGO partner CARE International and Syngenta. Abby Davidson Maffei, global partnerships manager at CARE offered the NGO perspective while the corporate angle was taken up by Andrew McConville, head of corporate affairs Asia Pacific at Syngenta.

Among the other participants were Pushpanathan Sundram, managing director EAS in Asia, and former deputy secretary-general of the Association of South East Asian Nations and  Dr Mark Michelson, Chairman, The IMA Asia CEO Forum, Hong Kong.

Other senior contributors included Ferdinand dela Cruz, group director of East Zone Business Operations and corporate strategic affairs group at Manila Water. From the NGO community participants also included Nick Finney, Save the Children emergency response team leader and Tara Buakansri, campaign director for Greenpeace South East Asia.

In breakout sessions panellists included Peter Witton, formerly head of communications for Habitat for Humanity and Stephen Crisp, global head of policy and government relations, Nokia Siemens Networks.

Projects debated included Project Laserbeam, a five-year, multi-million dollar public-private partnership that seeks to eradicate child malnutrition. The project was introduced by Dianne Rajaratnam, a representative of the ASEAN Global Programs Team, Accenture Development Partnerships.

Government engagement

From the governmental community participants included Michael Chapnick, director of communications and public affairs at the the APEC Secretariat, Paul Buckley, field operations coordinator, The UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) and Andy Roby, FLEGT forestry programme coordinator, Indonesia.

The session ended with a high profile panel debate on the role of the media in bridging the relationship between corporations, NGOs and the government, with the session led by  Steven R Okun, director of public affairs Asia Pacific, KKR. Panellists included the FT’s regional corporate correspondent Jeremy Grant and Patrick Fok, senior producer and presenter at Channel NewsAsia

Other industry leading corporate affairs practitioners involved included Elizabeth Hernandez, Vice President, HP Government Relations, Asia Pacific & Japan and Donough Foley, former Head of Government and Regulatory Affairs, for Phillips Electronics Asia Pacific
Commenting on the event, PublicAffairsAsia executive director, Craig Hoy, said: “The rise of public-private partnership is creating a ’perfect triangle’ of stakeholder engagement in areas from health care to the environment. But in certain Asia Pacific markets the development of partnership is hampered by poor understanding between critical stakeholders.

“In this multi-stakeholder environment the role of the corporate communicator and PA professional is to identify partners, build trust, develop dialogue and deliver outcomes. This was affirmed by the seniority and number of forum attendees.”

In 2013 PublicAffairsAsia is set to expand its forum offering with a dedicated forum on public-private engagement joining the roster of The Government Affairs Forum and The Corporate Affairs Forum.

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