Business community and UN must carry on partnership, says Secretary-General

10 January 2007 –

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the symbiotic relationship between business and the United Nations at a meeting in New York with leading executives from the private sector.

“We need your innovation, your initiative, your technological prowess,” Mr. Ban said in an address over breakfast at the Grand Hyatt hotel to the UNA-USA Business Council for the United Nations and the Association for a Better New York. “But business also needs the United Nations,” he added.

Business is driven by growth and profit incentives, while the UN is concentrates on peace and security, poverty reduction and human rights, Mr. Ban said. However, “many of our objectives are the same: building and supporting strong economies and communities, providing opportunities for people to pursue a livelihood, and ensuring that everyone can live in dignity,” he pointed out.

The Secretary-General identified the UN Global Compact, an initiative started in 1999 advancing business practices rooted in good corporate citizenship and universal principles, as the embodiment of the partnership between the business world and the UN.

Mr. Ban, who took office on 1 January, took the opportunity to thank New York City for its support of the Organization and for welcoming him to his new post. Having served as an officer in his country’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York in the past, as well as having been in the city in 2001 at the time of the September 11th attacks, he stated, “I am glad to be back here again, and proud to call New York my home.”

The UN Headquarters in New York will undergo a massive renovation at a cost of over $1.8 billion, scheduled to begin in this year and conclude in 2014. The refurbishment, widely viewed as essential from a health and security standpoint, is forecast to save costs in the long-run.

The Secretary-General expressed his gratitude to the people of the City and to Mayor Michael Bloomberg for their cooperation in the project and for their understanding of the possible disruptions to both the neighbourhood and commuters an undertaking of this scale could cause.

Today’s meeting with Mr. Ban was part of the “United Nations and Corporate Global Issues Breakfast Series” sponsored by the UNA-USA Business Council for the United Nations, a New York-based organization which promotes stronger ties between its member companies and the UN.

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