Meeting today with CEOs, heads of state and ministers at a forum on the sidelines of a global finance summit, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the corporate community “to be our partners in supporting and financing this agenda.”
The call came on the second day of a global conference on “financing for development”, tasked with finding resources for a 17-point, 15-year plan on meeting human needs, protecting the planet and ending poverty. These Sustainable Development Goals will be up for final approval at the UN General Assembly in September.
“I urge private sector leaders — including CEOs and institutional investors — to be part of the solution, and to consider new commitments for investment in sustainable development,” the Secretary-General added, noting that the UN Global Compact, has rallied business behind these important issues and, with over 8,000 companies and 4,000 non-business stakeholders in 160 countries, it can “mobilize a global force of businesses for good.”
The 14 July International Business Forum attended by the Secretary-General was held at the Hilton Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In its morning session, more than 400 CEOs and business leaders heard addresses from H.E. Sam Kahamba Kutesa, President of the United Nations General Assembly; H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia; Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group; and former basketball star Dikembe Mutombo, Chairman and President of the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, Inc.
The Addis Ababa Action Agenda under negotiation represents a global consensus on a working relationship between private, philanthropic and public sectors, on addressing social justice and sustainable production and consumption, and on closing a yawning infrastructure gap. (See accompanying backgrounder.)
However, the meeting takes place in a period of low expectations for global economic growth rates, weakened international trade, declining investment flows to developing countries, and persistent problems regarding debt, including in developed countries, noted both in the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects, mid-year update, 19 May, and the 9 July update to the World Economic Outlook of the International Monetary Fund.
A report of an intergovernmental committee of experts (A/69/315) released last year said that lack of capital is not the issue, It cited estimates of “robust” annual global savings from private and public sources of $22 trillion, and of total global financial assets of about $220 trillion. Nevertheless, constraints on government budgets indicate a crucial role for the private sector and responsible business practices in helping to mobilize resources for pressing global needs.
The International Business Forum was organized by:
- International Chamber of Commerce (Chair)
- Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment
- European-American Chamber of Commerce
- Foundation Center
- Global Clearinghouse for Development Finance
- International Finance Corporation
- Principles for Responsible Investment
- World Business Council for Sustainable Development
- World Economic Forum
- Women’s World Banking
- United Cities and Local Governments
- UN Global Compact
- UN Foundation
About the United Nations Global Compact
The United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to voluntarily align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to take action in support of UN goals and issues. The UN Global Compact is a leadership platform for the development, implementation and disclosure of responsible corporate policies and practices. Launched in 2000, it is largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, with 13,000 corporate and non-business signatories based in 170 countries. www.unglobalcompact.org