Business Action for Sustainble Development 2012 (BASD 2012), Closing plenary session of the BASD 2012 Business Day, titled "Final Inputs to Rio+20"

Welcoming Remarks by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)

Distinguished guests
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As Secretary-General of the Rio+20 Conference, I am pleased to offer a few words at the closing of this Business Day.

Let me thank our organizing partners in the Business and Industry Major Group for contributing to the Rio+20 Conference. 

Let me also thank all participants for demonstrating with your presence that business and industry — together with the other eight major groups of society — is strongly committed to sustainable development. 

Of the 18,000 pre-registrants, business and industry was the second largest contingent.

We can never underestimate the importance of business, and their potential for positive impact.

It is you, businessmen and representatives of major groups, who are the major implementing actors on the frontline for Sustainable Development and the growth of the green economy.

Your productive investments and innovative capacities are crucial for transitioning to a resource- and energy- efficient low carbon economy.

The business sector is also a main driver of innovation, especially green innovation.

In the transition to a green economy, much of the additional financing will come from business, ranging from multinationals to domestic enterprises.

We have often said that government alone cannot implement sustainable development. 

I’m glad to hear that business and industry also agree that they cannot do it alone. 

Strong multilateral institutions and public sector institutions at the regional and national level are essential for business and industry to thrive. 

This 20-year anniversary of the first Earth Summit has highlighted the importance of engaging all nine Major Groups of society: business and industry, women, youth and children, workers and trade unions, scientific and technological community, farmers, indigenous peoples, local authorities and NGOs.

Unlike at any other UN or intergovernmental process, non-government actors are playing a significant role at Rio+20. 

Imagine our surprise when we learned that more than three million people logged in to join us remotely – both proposing and voting on recommendations for the Future They Want.

This new participatory mindset is exciting.

It assures me that we are making progress on creating a sustainable world and that we are working together. 

And it also provides clear evidence to leaders of governments and business that people care about sustainability and are willing to do something about it. 

Let’s look at one example: the UN Global Compact’s Women Empowerment Principles.

These principles have often been raised by members of Major Groups, who have suggested that women should be economic change agents in the quest for sustainable development. 

And they are right.

Where we have fallen short, we must seize the opportunity to correct our ship’s course.

We need to show the world that we are taking concrete steps.

This is why we are seeking commitments and new partnerships.  Five years from today, we hope to have noticeable progress to see genuine change.

I am pleased to hear of the commitments that the business and industry sector has made over the last four days that will be added to the Registry of Commitment by BASD.

Looking ahead, we hope to see the continued and enhanced engagement of the business and industry sector in advancing sustainable development.

Let us work together in following up on the outcomes of Rio+20.

Thank you.

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