I have asked for the floor to say a few words, and to express my personal appreciation for your participation in today’s event.
During my three and a half years as Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, I have had the opportunity to work with business leaders, through the Global Compact, the International Chamber of Commerce, the World Economic Forum, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and, more recently, the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy - CECP.
I am encouraged by the commitment to corporate social responsibility, and to long-term sustainable development goals.
It is heartening to see business move beyond quarterly earnings. To focus more on shareholder values and long-term business goals, including the goal of being a model corporate citizen….a world citizen.
Your significant financial contributions to education, public health, food security, women’s empowerment, forest conservation, and sustainable development, are a strong testament to your world corporate citizenship.
But you give more than money. Many of you encourage your employees to volunteer, to devote their time and energy to charity and philanthropic work. Many of you lead by examples.
The United Nations welcomes you as partners – partners for a shared vision for sustainable development.
I am also speaking tonight as the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – also known as Rio+20 – which will be held next year in Rio de Janeiro.
Governments will gather in Rio to renew their commitment to a sustainable world …one that lifts people out of poverty…one that ensures access to clean water, clean energy and clean air, for all.
It is a Conference for all stakeholders, stakeholders like you.
The Conference will focus on a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development.
On the green economy, we will count on you to take on a leadership role. You are on the frontlines.
We need you to innovate, to blaze new pathways, to disseminate cutting-edge technology, to assist entrepreneurs in developing countries.
We welcome your ideas, your experience and your leadership.
Please join us on this journey to Rio – to a sustainable future, for us and for future generations.