15 February marks International Childhood Cancer Day.
To commemorate the day, Mahak – a non-profit, non-political, and non-governmental charity organization which supports children suffering from cancer – hosted an event entitled “4th International Congress of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)” focusing on Sustainable Development. The event was sponsored by the Iran and Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.
The event was attended by directors and managers of enterprises and management decision-making bodies. Speakers Seyed Mohammad Hadi Ayazi, Deputy Minister and the Chairman of the Head Department for the Social Determinants of Health in Iran’s Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Masoud Khansari, Head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Dr. Sameen Siddiqi, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Iran and the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Iran, Mr. Gary Lewis.
Mr. Lewis spoke of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and highlighted how the private sector plays a fundamental role in advancing the SDGs. In this regards he said: “Although the 2030 Agenda was spearheaded by the UN, it is a global plan. It is an agenda for everyone. One in which all countries are – really – developing countries. Frankly, it is our only real plan to produce a future for our fragile, endangered planet which is sustainable. When the 193 Member States of the UN signed up to this plan in October 2015, what we made was a covenant with the future. We need to succeed with this plan. There can be no Plan B – because we have no Planet B.”
Mr. Lewis added “The 17 goals apply to all countries and all people. Together, they aim to eradicate poverty, fight inequality, build peaceful, inclusive, and resilient societies, and secure the future of the planet and the wellbeing of future generations. Taken together, the 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs, represent a shared vision for the future of humanity.”
Mr. Lewis then made reference to the UN’s Global Compact which brings together business, governments, civil society and UN agencies to advance universal principles in the areas of environment, labor, human rights and anti-corruption. CSR is at the very center of the Global Compact and is the world's largest voluntary corporate citizenship pact. At present, over 12,200 companies from over one hundred countries participate. There are only 6 members from Iran, 4 Companies and 2 NGOs, one of which is Mahak.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Siddiqi also referred to the SDGs and the aim of WHO working with the Iranian Government to reach universal health coverage within Iran well before the year 2030. He highlighted in his presentation that for CSR to succeed in the health service we require good corporate governance, sound legislation, enforcement and monitoring mechanisms and transparency.
Also, speaking at the event was Mr. Hadi Ayazi who urged organizations to fulfill their responsibility to society within CSR.
According to Mr. Khansari, Head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, more engagement in CSR is expected with recession declining and economy growing.
Mahak, ranked as the 4th NGO in the world by Société Generale de Surveillance in 2016, during the past quarter century has provided support for children with cancer, thus reducing child mortality rates and helping families of children who suffer from cancer. Mahak aims to further fulfill its CSR commitment by helping children with cancer who need a stem cell transplant. To achieve this, they are working towards having a databank in place, which is available to all people of Iran and neighboring countries. Their aim is to have the largest databank in the Middle East.
Speakers at the event received appreciation plaques for their dedication and contribution to Mahak for supporting its mission to advance the humanitarian cause of helping children with cancer.
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