Mr. Thomas Gass Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs

Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on Public-Private Cooperation: Business engagement in the 2030 Agenda

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for joining me at this Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on Public-Private Cooperation: Business engagement in the 2030 Agenda.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development address – in an integrated way – the most pressing economic, social and environmental challenges of our time.

They are a comprehensive and shared vision of humanity for transforming our society and projecting our planet. They form a social contract between the world’s leaders and the people.

Implementation of the SDGs will require all governments and decision-makers to commit to leave no one behind. And, together with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement, will help collectively to drive inclusive, sustainable and resilient economic growth for decades to come.

The 2030 Agenda resulted from the most inclusive policy dialogue the United Nations has ever organized, one which the private sector fully contributed to.

SDG 17 – “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development” – encourages and welcomes effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships to be forged and widely promoted.

Indeed, the private sector has shown great interest in seeing sustainable development succeed. As economies become more global and interdependent, businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the interlinkages between public and private interests. That is why the SDGs are about a new global partnership. This means that working in partnership and involving stakeholders will be key to implementation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Business is uniquely equipped to deliver and support the new Agenda through its use of innovation in areas such as information and communication technology, health and agricultural productivity, just to mention a few.

Private sector activity and investments are of course also major drivers of inclusive economic growth and job creation.

The United Nations provides a range of tools for which business can engage with the new global agenda, as we will see in the coming presentations.

On the side of my department, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, we maintain an online platform devoted to promoting partnerships working towards implementing the SDGs.

The platform – “Partnerships for SDGs” – was initially developed for the Rio+20 Conference in 2012, to showcase voluntary commitments and multi-stakeholder partnerships that were announced in the margins of the Conference.

The online platform was re-developed last year to support the SDGs. It contains over 2,000 initiatives working to support the SDGs, including many business-led initiatives and commitments.

It also provides a point of access to several larger partnerships and “action networks”. These are larger initiatives that are driving commitments and actions from all stakeholders, and include the Secretary-General’s initiatives Sustainable Energy for All and Every Woman Every Child, the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative, and the Business 2030 network.

I invite you to fully engage with this tool – to register yours and your network’s initiatives – to show that business is working side by side with governments, the UN system and civil society in driving the 2030 Agenda forward. The platform is available at

Ladies and gentlemen,

As part of the 2030 Agenda, governments emphasized that a robust, voluntary, effective, participatory, transparent and integrated follow-up and review framework will make a vital contribution to its implementation.

Such a framework should promote accountability to citizens, support active international cooperation, and foster exchange of best practices and mutual learning.

The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is the UN’s central platform to follow up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. It will hold its first session since the adoption of the Agenda, on 11-20 July this year.

I invite you to actively participate in this forum. The session will feature, for the first time, voluntary national reviews by 22 Member States, as well a range of thematic reviews. In accordance with the multi-stakeholder nature of HLPF, we expect the session to feature several opportunities to hear from the private sector and civil society as well.

Also for the first time, stakeholders, including business, are called upon to report on their contribution to the implementation of the Agenda – to HLPF – similarly as what governments will do. One way to do so is to register your initiatives in the Partnerships for SDGs platform.

I look forward to a fruitful discussion with all the distinguished guests at this policy dialogue.

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