Participation by All Stakeholders Crucial to Meeting Millennium Goals, Second Committee Told during Discussion on Global Partnerships

5 November 2009
GA/EF/3265

Participation by All Stakeholders Crucial to Meeting Millennium Goals, Second Committee Told during Discussion on Global Partnerships

5 November 2009
General Assembly
GA/EF/3265
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fourth General Assembly

Second Committee

32nd Meeting (AM)


Participation by All Stakeholders Crucial to Meeting Millennium Goals,


Second Committee Told during Discussion on Global Partnerships


The Millennium Development Goals could only be achieved with the participation of all stakeholders, including Governments, the private sector and civil society, the representative of Sweden said today, as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) considered global partnerships.


Speaking on behalf of the European Union, he said the United Nations Global Compact could play an important role in furthering dialogue among partners, cautioning, however, that private companies should not be allowed to draw on the goodwill and legitimacy associated with the United Nations to market themselves as good corporate citizens without fulfilling their specific obligations.  Progress should benefit all, he emphasized.


To support cooperation, the United Nations must give concrete guidance, he said, praising the ongoing global debate on corporate social responsibility and business ethics.  How the Organization coordinated and optimized the use of the stakeholders’ knowledge and experience was pivotal.  The European Union looked forward to working with all Member States on a draft resolution to renew the Global Compact’s mandate and licence to operate, as everyone benefited from global partnerships.


China’s representative said that the food, energy and climate crises facing the world had jeopardized attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, adding that “under such circumstances, the international community should join hands in responding to the crises”.  To consolidate global collaboration, partnerships should conform to the national development strategies of the countries involved.  Furthermore, the experience and lessons learned during collaboration should be summarized in a timely manner as the various parties involved had different ways of operating.  It was also important to keep channels of communications open to enhance transparency and accountability, he added.


With regard to the Organization itself, he said it was vital that it maintain its independence and neutrality, and articulate its criteria for selecting partners for cooperation.  At the same time, it was crucial to assess the current partnerships in order to identify and solve problems.  Strengthening of global partnerships could help solve challenges encountered by developing countries and thus achieve a more balanced development of the global economy as a whole, he added.


Nepal’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Least Developed Countries, described global partnerships for development as an unfulfilled dream.  Least developed countries could not meet the current global crises on their own and it was the responsibility of the developed countries, which had created the problems to begin with, to assist the least developed countries on challenges related to food, energy and climate change.


He went on to point out that the least developed countries had yet to receive what their developed partners had committed to provide them with in terms of development aid, trade concessions, technology transfer and capacity-building.  In order to truly realize global partnerships, the commitments made in New York, Brussels, Doha, Monterrey and Johannesburg should be implemented in a meaningful way, he emphasized.


Eva Busza, Principal Officer in the Strategic Planning Unit of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners, in particular the private sector.


Also speaking today were representatives of Columbia, Switzerland and the United Republic of Tanzania.


The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on 6 November to hold a panel discussion under the theme “Enhancing Governance on Water”.


Background


The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to consider its agenda items titled “Towards global partnerships” and “Programme planning”.  It was also expected to hear the presentation of a draft resolution on the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.


Before the Committee was a report of the Secretary-General titled Enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and relevant partners, in particular the private sector (document A/64/337), which provides examples of the various kinds of United Nations-private sector partnerships, including those that enhance core business operations and value chains, as well as ventures in social investment and philanthropy, advocacy and awareness raising.  It describes the impact of the global economic downturn on those partnerships and actions to overcome the operational constraints on the Organization’s ability to collaborate effectively with the private sector.


Among other things, the report recommends that the United Nations develop a more strategic approach to working with the private sector; build the capacity to shift from fund-raising to core business partnerships; enhance the integration of small- and medium-sized enterprises and companies in low-income countries; align partnerships with national development agendas; develop a coherent approach to partner selection and engagement; and improve evaluation and impact assessment.


The report describes key milestones in building partnerships, such as the revised United Nation-private sector guidelines and the new “United Nations and Business” website, both created in 2008, and notes that their widespread use will help significantly strengthen the coherence, transparency and effectiveness of private sector engagement.  Using the “One UN” approach will make it easier to mobilize business expertise, resources and capacities, it concludes.


Introduction of Documents


At the outset of the meeting, NADIA OSMAN ( Sudan) introduced a draft resolution titled “International Strategy for Disaster Reduction” (document A/C.2/64/L.10) on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China.


The Committee then took up its item, “Towards global partnership”.


Introduction of Report


EVA BUSZA, Principal Officer, Strategic Planning Unit, Executive Office of the Secretary-General, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners, in particular the private sector (document A/64/337), noting that significant progress had been made in that regard since the launch of the Global Compact 10 years ago.


With more than 7,000 participants from more than 120 countries, the Compact was the world’s largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative, she said.  In providing an international platform for participants and stakeholders to share practices and challenges, it had contributed significantly to the emerging worldwide consensus on the value of corporate responsibility to business and society.


She said the report comprehensively took stock of recent trends and developments throughout the Organization.  The “United Nations and Business” website and the revised “Guidelines on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Business Community” were good examples of efforts to strengthen the coherence, transparency and effectiveness of the Organization’s engagement with the private sector.


Statements


JOHAN RUTGERSSON (Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Millennium Development Goals would only be achieved with the participation of all stakeholders, including Governments, the private sector and civil society.  The United Nations Global Compact could play an important role in furthering dialogue among them.  However, private companies should not be allowed to draw on the goodwill and legitimacy associated with the United Nations to market themselves as good corporate citizens without fulfilling their specific obligations, he cautioned, emphasizing that progress should benefit all.


He went on to say that success could only be defined by taking environmental, social and governance issues into consideration.  To support corporations in that respect, the United Nations must give concrete guidance, he said, praising the ongoing global debate on corporate social responsibility and business ethics.  How the Organization coordinated and optimized the use of the stakeholders’ knowledge and experience was pivotal and regional engagements could be developed further.  The cooperation between the African Union and the Global Compact Office was welcome.  The European Union looked forward to working with all Member States on a draft resolution to renew the Global Compact’s mandate and licence to operate, as everyone benefited from global partnerships.


EK NATH DHAKAL (Nepal), speaking on behalf of the Least Developed Countries, said that although developing countries had made significant strides in national ownership, the promised global partnership for development remained an unfulfilled dream.  The least developed countries had yet to receive what their developed partners had committed to provide in development aid, trade concessions, technology transfer and capacity-building.


All the pledges made in New York, Brussels, Doha, Monterrey and Johannesburg should be implemented sincerely in the true spirit of global partnership, he said.  That required recognition that it was a global responsibility to free least developed countries from poverty, conflicts, disasters, food insecurity, hunger and the negative effects of climate change and the global economic crisis.  On their own, least developed countries could not meet those challenges, for which they were least responsible.  True global partnership required shared roles and responsibilities among the private sector and all other stakeholders to achieve national, regional and global development goals, he said.


The Millennium Development Goals could only be achieved through stronger, more effective partnerships among the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization.  There was a need to step up efforts to build a robust approach for effective, sustainable and transparent partnerships across the Organization to address the special needs of least developed countries, which required help to build institutional capacity, strengthen small- and medium-sized enterprises and better align global partnerships with their national development agendas.


A stronger global partnership was critically important to address effectively the challenges of growth and development, he continued.  There was also a need for benchmarks and indicators to chart progress in implementing the internationally agreed development targets.  He expressed support for the sharing of best practices, which would provide much-needed clarity on partnerships.  The spirit of global partnership should guide the upcoming Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, to be held in Turkey in 2011, he said.


CLAUDIA BLUM ( Columbia) said that strengthening global partnerships and international cooperation was a worthwhile objective that complemented her country’s domestic policy of promoting sustainable development and investment.  To stimulate economic growth, the Government of Colombia had sought to encourage socially responsible entrepreneurship at every level.  Social responsibility implied not only private sector transparency but also an ongoing commitment to participate in the overall development process.


With that in mind, she said, Columbia valued United Nations initiatives to promote cooperation with the private sector and the consolidation of public-private partnerships to achieve development targets, in particular the Millennium Development Goals.  The United Nations Global Compact was a platform that brought Governments, private enterprise and civil society together to realize the Organization’s core values and goals, especially human rights, decent labour conditions, environmental protection and the fight against corruption.  With respect to the draft resolution before the Committee, Columbia considered it a step forward in the ongoing efforts to develop the collaboration between the United Nations and the private sector.


LI KEXIN ( China) said the food, energy and climate crises facing the world had jeopardized attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, adding that “under such circumstances, the international community should join hands in responding to the crises.”  To consolidate global collaboration, partnerships should conform to the national development strategies of the countries involved.  Furthermore, the experiences and lessons learned during collaboration should be summarized in a timely manner, as the parties had different ways of operating and it was necessary to keep the channels of communication open in order to enhance transparency and accountability.


With regard to the Organization itself, he said it was vital to maintain its independence and neutrality.  The United Nations should articulate its criteria for selecting corporate partners.  At the same time, it was crucial to assess the current partnerships in order to identify and solve problems.  In conclusion, he said that the strengthening of global partnerships could help solve the challenges encountered by developing countries and thus achieve a more balanced development of the global economy as a whole.


SÉGOLÈNE ADAM ( Switzerland) said she was encouraged by the growing importance of the collaboration between the United Nations and the private sector, stressing that effective partnership could help attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.  The financial and economic crisis seemed to have bolstered, rather than undermined, United Nations-private sector partnerships.  The crisis had increased the recognition of the need for sustainable and ethical business practices, and Governments had been instrumental in creating an environment of corporate social responsibility.  The Global Compact had played a crucial role in promoting sustainable business practices and mainstreaming business partnerships throughout the United Nations.


She said that, as the world’s largest corporate citizenship initiative, the Compact had brought United Nations values to the global business community by encouraging adherence to its 10 principles and supporting the Organization’s objectives, particularly the Millennium Goals.  Initiatives such as the CEO Water Mandate or the Business Leadership Platform on climate change had received widespread recognition.  The growth in initiatives based on the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment or the Principles for Responsible Management Education showed that the environmental, social and governance agenda was gaining prominence among influential groups such as investors and academics.  Switzerland supported the recommendations of the Secretary-General’s report on global partnerships, which aimed to strengthen the role, effectiveness and accountability of partnerships for development.


MODEST JONATHAN MERO (United Republic of Tanzania), stressing the importance of and need for global partnerships, as called for in the Secretary-General’s report, expressed his country’s commitment to them.


Introduction of Draft Resolution


Taking the floor for a second time, the representative of Sweden introduced, on behalf of the European Union, a draft resolution titled “Towards global partnerships” (document A/C.2/64/L.14).


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