GLOBAL COMPACT, UN VALUES IT PROMOTES CAN HELP RESTORE TRUST IN BUSINESS MARKETS ERODED DURING CURRENT CRISIS, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL TO NEW YORK MEETING

15 December 2008
SG/SM/12007-ECO/144

GLOBAL COMPACT, UN VALUES IT PROMOTES CAN HELP RESTORE TRUST IN BUSINESS MARKETS ERODED DURING CURRENT CRISIS, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL TO NEW YORK MEETING

15 December 2008
Secretary-General
SG/SM/12007
ECO/144
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

GLOBAL COMPACT, UN VALUES IT PROMOTES CAN HELP RESTORE TRUST IN BUSINESS MARKETS


ERODED DURING CURRENT CRISIS, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL TO NEW YORK MEETING

 


Following are Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the meeting of the Global Compact Board in New York, 15 December:


It is a pleasure to join you for this meeting of the Global Compact Board.


We meet at an extraordinary moment.  What began as a financial crisis just a few months ago has turned into a full-scale economic downturn that affects economies and societies around the world.


There is no doubt that the current crisis poses a serious threat to our collective well-being.  It will require a concerted effort by Governments, international organizations and the private sector to prevent a lasting global recession.


In these challenging circumstances, it is more important than ever that business -- and especially the Global Compact -- take a leading role in getting out the message that the long-term success of business and the stability of markets and societies are two sides of the same coin.


Most immediately, we must do all we can to bring the global economy back on a track of sustainable growth that will advance development.


This will not be easy, as trust in the capacity of business has been eroded.  And trust is essential.  Business needs it to create and deliver value.  We all need it as a matter of confidence in the system.  The Global Compact and the United Nations values it promotes can help to restore trust and build confidence in markets.


The downturn has also shown that we must shift from an obsession with short-term profits to a focus on long-term sustainability and proactive management of environmental, social and governance risks.


We can turn these challenges into opportunities.  For example, I recently proposed a “Green New Deal” to create new employment and foster sustainable markets while safeguarding our environment and natural resources.


Business can and must join in investing in a sustainable future.  Many of the long-term issues that we have been tackling, from climate change to water poverty, will not vanish.  If left unattended, they will likely be the cause of further global disruptions.  Already, recent findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that climate change is progressing at a much faster rate than previously anticipated.


Through your stewardship of the Global Compact and our universal ideals, you have already done much to advance the case for responsible business.  I hope you will use today’s meeting to discuss how the Compact can make an even stronger contribution.


When we met for the first time in this room more than a year-and-a-half ago, I called on you to ensure that the momentum of the Global Compact is not lost on the slippery slope of the lowest common denominator.  This is now more urgent than ever.


In particular, I will be relying on you to further refine the good measures that have been taken to strengthen the quality and accountability of the corporate commitment to the Compact.  As we move forward, it will be critical that the integrity of the initiative and the credibility of this Organization remain beyond reproach.


I also wish to announce that I am asking Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Mary Robinson and Georg Kell to form an appointment committee to make recommendations for future Board members and to manage smooth transitions when needed.


Finally, as we are gearing up for the Global Compact’s tenth anniversary and the next Global Compact Leaders Summit in July 2010, I would like to challenge you to think big and find ways to ensure that business engagement in support of United Nations goals will reach an even higher level.


Thank you again your dedication to the Compact.  You have done great work to advance our shared mission, and I look forward to doing even more as we move ahead.


I wish you all a most productive meeting.


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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.