6 August 2010

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

At Tokyo Reception, Secretary-General Reminds Business Leaders Their Decisions —


on Investment, Employment — Can Play Critical Role in Keeping Peace


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at a reception hosted by the Global Compact Network Japan, in Tokyo, 6 August:

Minasan konbanwa.  (Good evening everyone.)

Minasan ni oaidekite ureshii desu.  (I am very happy to meet everybody.)

I am delighted to be among you again.

With each visit I see you are even more active and engaged than before.

I am here in Japan, as you know, to pay tribute to the victims of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The past two days have been profoundly moving.

They have emphasized in the most vivid way the importance of securing peace among peoples, cultures and nations.

We must never permit such devastating and indiscriminate weapons to be used again.

Disarmament is one of my top priorities, and I am determined to do everything in my power to build on the current momentum on this agenda.

Of course, the responsibility for peace lies primarily with Governments.  But, business has a critical role to play.

A company’s decisions — on investment and employment, on its relations with communities, on the environment, on security — can create or exacerbate the tensions that fuel conflict, or they can help a country remain at peace.

The recently released Global Compact guidance on “Responsible Business in Conflict-Affected and High Risk Areas” is meant to help business and all of us negotiate a set of complex issues.

I understand you convened a very productive event earlier this year to help advance this important guidance on business and peace.

Thank you for bringing together Asian business, investors, academia, civil society and Government representatives on such a critical topic. 

For ten years now, the Global Compact has worked to advance corporate responsibility around the world.

The Global Compact is now embarking on its second decade, with more than 6,000 from all regions of the world.

We have a real opportunity to bring about a new era of sustainability.

I want to thank this Network for your important contributions since 2002, and I count on your continued commitment.

As you know, development is essential for achieving a more sustainable future.  In September, we will hold a high-level summit on the Millennium Development Goals.

We will showcase success stories and adopt a concrete plan for accelerating progress as the 2015 deadline approaches. 

We will also explore how to increase the role of business, since we will not succeed in this effort without your engagement.

I am pleased that the Global Compact in Japan, and those of you gathered here tonight, have a real interest in making development work.

Japanese companies are leading in a number of critical technologies and innovations.

I am confident that you will be able to contribute even more in the future.

I urge you to continue sharing best practices, motivating participants and undertaking joint activities.

And I ask you to spread our message.

Please encourage more Japanese companies to join the Global Compact.

Ensure that this country, which is so rich in industry and innovation, is well-represented — and involved in supporting the objectives of the United Nations

Isshoni ganbatte ikimasho.  (Let us continue to do our best together.)

Domo arigato gozaimashita.

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For information media • not an official record