Scaling Up Government-Private Sector Partnerships Critical to Realizing Sustainable Development, Say Speakers in Second Committee

GA/EF/3484
20 October 2017
Seventy-second Session, 20th Meeting (AM)

Scaling Up Government-Private Sector Partnerships Critical to Realizing Sustainable Development, Say Speakers in Second Committee

Agreeing that strategic partnerships were vital in financing development goals, speakers also highlighted the need for transparent business principles and respect for national priorities, as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) took up global partnerships today.

Lise Kingo, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, said attaining the Sustainable Development Goals meant scaling up on alliances and partnerships, especially with the private sector.  Moving from philanthropic funding to innovative financing — putting markets to work for sustainable development — would be a critical transformation in development planning.

To safeguard the Organization’s reputation, however, companies who partnered with the United Nations should publicly commit to the Global Compact’s Ten Principles, she said, introducing the Secretary‑General’s report on enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners, in particular the private sector (document A/72/310).

In a similar vein, Germany’s delegate — speaking on behalf of the European Union — said development system partnerships should follow key principles and values, ensure transparency and accountability and follow an effective monitoring process.  A draft resolution on partnerships intended for the current session should be postponed to the General Assembly’s seventy-third session so there could be further discussion and development.

Addressing national interests, the representative of Maldives — who also spoke for the Alliance of Small Island States — emphasized the need for countries, large and small, to migrate from donor‑driven relationships to partnerships based on mutual respect driven by local priorities.  Her country’s per capital gross domestic product (GDP) had risen from $160 in 1977 to its current $8,600, mainly due to strong partnerships between the Government and private sector, as well as international organizations and friendly countries.

Speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Malaysia’s delegate said the United Nations should recognize that his group was made up of countries in special situations — least developed States, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and middle‑income nations.  Tailor‑made incentives and frameworks should be developed to advance partnerships based on their specific needs and challenges, he stressed. 

Also speaking were the representatives of El Salvador (for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), China, Qatar, Malawi, Thailand, Republic of Korea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Morocco.  A representative of the International Chamber of Commerce also spoke.

The Committee will meet again on Monday, 23 October, at 10 a.m. to hold a dialogue with regional commissions and take up its agenda item on Palestine.

Presentation of Report

LISE KINGO, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners, in particular the private sector (document A/72/310).  She said there was strong consensus across the United Nations that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals required a significant upscale of alliances and partnership, especially with the private sector.  Across the Organization, partnership approaches were evolving towards deeper and more strategic collaboration, which were increasingly focused on innovation, scalability and impact.  Making a strategic pivot from “funding” to “financing”, or moving from philanthropic resource mobilization to innovative financing — putting markets to work for sustainable development — would be a critical transformation.

Highlighting the report’s recommendations for partnerships, she said United Nations entities should be encouraged to embed multi-stakeholder partnerships into their core business models.  They should prioritize investing in talent development among partnership practitioners and other staff to address current skill set gaps.  United Nations entities should build support among Governments and the Organization’s leadership for increased risk tolerance and integrate performance management criteria of relevant United Nations staff and management.  They should be encouraged to offer training and awareness‑building opportunities for all staff on the role of partnerships in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  To safeguard the Organization’s reputation, companies who partnered with the United Nations should make a public commitment to the Global Compact’s Ten Principles.  Global Compact Local Networks and the United Nations system at the country level should strengthen their collaboration and coordination.  Resident coordinators and other United Nations country team leadership could be formally tasked with outreach and engagement of local networks and the business community to advance national sustainable development priorities.

FARZANA ZAHIR (Maldives), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, said partnerships were important for mobilizing and sharing knowledge, expertise, technological financial resources and more.  Similarly, she noted that official development assistance (ODA) remained the core mechanism for development funding.  She said small island developing States benefitted from constructive partnerships, and were thus prioritized by her Alliance.

To that end, she said the small island developing States had created the Partnership Framework and an accompanying steering committee to monitor partnerships, identify new opportunities and ensure the implementation of commitments.  She also noted the Small Island Developing States Global Business Network, an online platform for sharing best practices to increase connections between regional private sector organizations and improve interregional business alliances.  She called for improved coherence and coordination between the different platforms and groups and expressed hope that the small island developing States would receive increased capacity and support from the international community.

M. SHAHRUL IKRAM YAAKOB (Malaysia) spoke on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).  In regards to advancing global partnerships at the regional level, he said there should be recognition by the United Nations system that ASEAN consisted of countries in special situations, namely least developed States, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and middle‑income countries.  Thus, it would be important to develop tailor‑made incentives and frameworks to advance partnerships based on their specific needs and challenges.  He said ODA remained critical and urged developed States to demonstrate leadership by fulfilling their commitments and ramping up support to developing countries.

In the context of ASEAN, he valued the importance of partnerships for national development.  In his region, the participation and collaboration of the private sector was crucial to the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025 and the Association’s principles for public‑private partnership framework.  The ASEAN Business Advisory Council, 9 ASEAN+1 business councils and 66 business entities interacted in various sectoral bodies under their respective areas of cooperation.  The theme of the Philippines chairmanship in 2017 was “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World” and reflected advocacy efforts to promote unity and global partnerships.

HECTOR ENRIQUE JAIME CALDERÓN (El Salvador), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), stressed the central role of public policies at global, regional and local levels in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  It was essential to establish partnerships among various parties in acquiring resources, knowledge and technical assistance to support implementation of the 2030 Agenda, especially in developing countries.  He recognized the crucial role of private sector partnerships and innovative financing in development.  Such partnerships could lead to job creation, professional training and economic growth.

Urging developed countries to fulfil their ODA commitments, he said that that was vital for development, especially in developing countries.  The international community must also work on methodologies that scaled up the degree of development in middle‑income countries, which were facing substantial challenges.  He encouraged United Nations entities to coordinate and collaborate with each other in forging public and private partnerships to foster development in accordance with each country’s needs.

STEFANIE ULRIKE SCHMID-LUEBBERT (Germany), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said it would be necessary to ensure that development system partnerships followed key principles and values, were transparent and accountable and followed an effective monitoring and review process.  To that end, she noted the progress of negotiations of the quadrennial comprehensive policy review, however stated that the partnerships resolution should be postponed to await further discussion and development.

Her recommendation was to hold a “technical rollover” of the resolution and defer negotiations on the text to the seventy‑third General Assembly.  In practice, the Union planned to table a formal decision to keep the item on the agenda.  It would continue to see the issue of partnerships as important, and looked forward to taking up other significant partnership issues in a substantive draft resolution in 2018.  Such an action would provide time to discuss issues including the need for multi-stakeholder involvement, guidance for transparency and accountability, strengthening the Global Compact’s role in fostering partnerships and promoting a system‑wide approach to partnerships.

ZHUANG YU (China) said it was the moral responsibility of the international community to strengthen partnerships for sustainable development.  She said her country advocated for the establishment of a more equitable and balanced structure for international cooperation for development.  Thus, she urged developed States to honour their ODA commitments and increase assistance to developing countries.  She called for developing countries to strengthen their cooperation and foster partnerships, and encouraged the strengthening of public and private partnerships at all levels.  For its part, China had convened numerous events and initiatives to charter joint development.  In that regard, she noted her country’s fund for development, its promotion of interest‑free loans and its hosting of the Group of 20 Summit.

ALI BIN FETAIS AL-MARRI (Qatar) said implementing the 2030 Agenda focused attention on the need to reactivate international partnerships in realizing sustainable development.  The United Nations had called for cooperation among different stakeholders in achieving the Agenda.  It must encourage United Nations agencies to include a multi‑stakeholder approach in all their activities.  Qatar favoured strengthening cooperation among countries of the South to enhance regional partnerships.  Successfully implementing and translating the 2030 Agenda objectives into reality required the Organization to carry out its activities in a balanced manner, efficiently using all sources of financing and partnerships at the global level.

Ms. ZAHIR (Maldives) said her country’s per capital gross domestic product (GDP) of $160 in 1977 had risen to $8,600 today.  That had been made possible by strong partnerships between the Government and private sector as well as international organizations and friendly countries.  She recognized the contributions that all partners, including the private sector could play in achieving development targets, but emphasized the importance of consistency with national priorities, strategies and plans to achieve efficient results.  There was a need for countries, whether large or small, to migrate from donor‑driven relationships to real partnerships based on mutual respect and understanding and driven by national priorities.  There was also a need for more innovation‑based partnerships that would generate wide‑ranging co‑benefits in the future to propel inclusive economic growth.

LOT THAUZENI PANSIPADANA DZONZI (Malawi) said that development efforts would need to be adapted to respond to country‑specific contexts.  Accordingly, as each country created policies and actions to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, it would be essential to increase multi-sectoral engagement along economic, political and social lines.  Malawi sought to enhance its voice in the global arena by partnering with other countries, including in the African region.  Similarly, he welcomed the engagement of the private sector to leverage resources for the 2030 Agenda. In that regard, his country would continue to seek non‑traditional actors for partnerships.

Mr. SMITHI (Thailand), associating himself with ASEAN, said revitalized and scaled‑up partnerships among all stakeholders would be critical towards realizing the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda.  He said all stakeholders must do their part to effectively finance sustainable development and stressed the importance of ODA and domestic resource mobilization.  Furthermore, there needed to be a new international investment regime that was equitable, balanced and promoted ethical businesses.  In that regard, he commended the work of the United Nations Global Compact and encouraged the mainstreaming of its Ten Principles.  He urged the creation of new and innovative ways to strengthen international partnerships, and said his country had provided technical cooperation through its national “Sufficiency Economy Philosophy” as well as South‑South and triangular cooperation.  He welcomed the reforms by the Secretary‑General and called for enhanced partnerships with regional and subregional organizations, particularly along the commonalities with the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda.

SONG MI YOUNG (Republic of Korea) said multi‑stakeholder partnerships were key instruments in securing sustainable development, as Member States alone could not fulfil the 2030 Agenda’s obligations.  The private sector, civil society, academia, youth and other stakeholders must actively participate.  She stressed that partnerships should go beyond financing sustainable development or leveraging public and private investment to include knowledge sharing, expertise and experiences.  The United Nations should aim to improve its partnership capacity and inter‑agency collaboration on partnerships.  It must increase its capacity to engage in results‑oriented innovative partnerships at all levels with relevant stakeholders.  Strengthening global partnerships would also require increased cooperation between existing partnership initiatives to further ignite synergies among them.

KEOPASEUTH CHANTHAPHIM (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), associating himself with ASEAN, said ODA remained a significant resource to fill the most needed funding gaps for many developing countries.  That especially included the least developed States, he said, calling on developed countries to fulfil their commitment of 0.7 per cent of gross national income without earmarks.  Although South‑South and triangular cooperation were important, they could not be a substitute for North‑South cooperation.  Furthermore, he urged donor countries to provide sufficient, predictable and non‑earmarked funding to the core budgets of United Nations agencies so that they could help countries in the implementation of the global development agendas, including the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Ms. HAMDOUNI (Morocco) stressed the importance of revitalizing partnerships at local, regional and global levels in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  If the private sector was involved, it must assume responsibility in providing investment and adhere to viable and responsible practices.  Several projects in vital sectors of her country’s economy had been carried out as public‑private partnerships, especially in infrastructure.  Noting that partnerships were an indispensable and effective tool in speeding up implementation of the 2030 Agenda, she stressed the need for new South‑South cooperation involving partnerships.  In addition to partnerships, she emphasized that ODA was vital and called on developed States to honour their commitments, especially for least developed countries.

LOUISE KANTROW, of the International Chamber of Commerce, said businesses looked for longer‑term, strategic partnerships on projects that aligned with their core corporate values, objectives, competencies and technologies.  An example of a platform for multi‑stakeholders in various sectors to share their unique competencies and technologies was the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation that supported implementation of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement.  It was a public‑private platform, focused on helping developing and least developed countries, that had leveraged business expertise, leadership and resources to support trade facilitation reforms.  She underlined that with a membership of more than 6 million businesses in 120 countries, the Chamber had the capacity and the reach to empower the work of the United Nations.

For information media. Not an official record.