2 November 2009

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, in Message to New York Gathering, Stresses Value


of Partnerships between United Nations, Financial Communities


This is the text of a video message by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today to a gathering of international stock exchange and financial leaders ‑‑ entitled “Sustainable Stock Exchanges” ‑‑ at United Nations Headquarters in New York:

Welcome to the United Nations.  Thank you for your commitment and engagement.  You meet as our world faces many grave and interconnected challenges.

The global economic crisis continues to unfold, despite some signs of recovery in some places.  Climate change threatens to disrupt economies and societies around the world.  This “threat multiplier” will compound other global problems, from food and water scarcity to energy security, poverty and the spread of disease.

We all have a stake in solving these challenges.  That is why the United Nations and the business and financial communities have been working more closely together in recent years.  Among the unprecedented partnerships we have forged is the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability and responsibility initiative.  Another is the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), which today includes more than 600 institutional investors with assets of over $18 trillion.

Both initiatives are based on the need to better manage and integrate environmental, social and governance issues.  These so-called “ESG” issues are critical in creating a world economy that is more stable, inclusive and sustainable.

Stock exchanges and other financial bodies and institutions have a key role to play.  Many of you have taken important steps to advance this agenda.  I welcome your efforts to incorporate ESG considerations into new stock indexes, listing rules and regulatory frameworks.  I hope today’s discussions will inspire you to go further still.  I thank the Global Compact, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and PRI for convening this event.  I wish you great success and look forward to deepening our partnerships in addressing the big issues of our times and in building a better world for all.

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For information media • not an official record