News & Upcoming Events

Deputy Secretary-General's Opening Remarks at the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy

27 June 2019


The Deputy Secretary-General

Opening Remarks for Forbes 400 SUMMIT ON Philanthropy


New York, 27 June 2019

[As prepared for delivery]




Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to welcome such an accomplished and influential group of philanthropic leaders to the United Nations for the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy. 

I want to thank Steve Forbes, Randall Lane and the Forbes team for bringing this high-profile event back to the UN.

Let me extend my special gratitude to Bill Gates and Warren Buffet for your extraordinary leadership and vision.  You have truly set the gold standard for philanthropic giving around the world. 

I also want to applaud all of you here today who have signed The Giving Pledge.  I thank you for your example and for encouraging others to do so.   

As all of you know, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a pivotal framework and 2019 is a pivotal year.  

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are our pathway to a more just, peaceful and sustainable world.   They provide an excellent foundation for informing and guiding ambitious philanthropic strategies, priorities and outcomes.

We are seeing the Sustainable Development Goals take root in national policies, regional strategies, in business operations, institutions of higher education and, crucially, among communities and citizens across the world.   

At the same time we know we must accelerate our efforts.  The clock is ticking.

Climate change is ravaging the planet – with a particularly brutal impact on many of the world’s most vulnerable people, communities and nations.

Staggering numbers of children and youth – especially girls and young women – still lack access to basic education and healthcare services.

People in many countries are starved of economic opportunities, decent work and social protection.

Reducing poverty and inequality are essential to delivering for people. 

Our collective experience has shown that development is not sustainable if it is not fair and inclusive. 

High and rising inequality poses a challenge to human development, the fulfilment of human rights, social cohesion, peace and security and sustainable development both within and among countries.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals takes trasnformational change. 

Governments, the UN, and a diverse range of private, philanthropic and civil society stakeholders must all commit to working together in a more collaborative and effective way.

It is encouraging to see a shift in the traditional norms of philanthropy towards a more collaborative model of donors and stakeholders working together for scalable interventions that address systemic issues.

Major philanthropic investments in cross-cutting, high-return priorities have tremendous potential to unlock progress across multiple SDGs while moving the needle on the world’s most pressing problems.

These areas range from quality education and health services to zero-carbon energy and environmental conversation to the economic empowerment of women and girls.
As you all know, making a large, multi-year philanthropic bet on an ambitious social change issue requires hands-on engagement. 

Fortunately, we have the benefit of the insights and lessons of some of the most experienced and effective philanthropists in the world here today.

Transforming our world to achieve the 2030 Agenda very much depends on leadership, innovation, and strategic collaborations at both the global and the local level.

We must draw on the knowledge and experience of local communities and actors on the ground to ensure we replicate and scale up the most promising models.

The United Nations stands ready to help you in this endeavor – whether through our convening power, our networks or our presence and experience on the ground in some 165 countries across the world.

In closing, allow me to stress one final point.

Look at the challenges we are facing in our world today and you will see very clearly, that we are at a moment in time where we cannot afford half measures.

We need action that is ambitious and we need that action to be taken urgently and at scale.

We have ten years left to meet our global goals including ending poverty and hunger, empowering all women and girls, creating shared prosperity and averting the worst impacts of climate change.

This September, the Secretary-General will set out a call to action for all our leaders and for all stakeholders to step up to this challenge.

He will be asking everyone to join him and millions more across the globe to kickstart a decade of unprecedented action for the Sustainable Development Goals.

I invite you all to join this movement. I also challenge you to identify and pursue the most ambitious contribution that philanthropy can make to achieving the transformation that our planet and its peoples so desperately need.

Thank you for your vision, determination and commitment to creating a better world in which no one is left behind and all live a life of dignity.  

I look forward to continuing this engagement in years ahead.

I wish you all a fruitful exchange and insightful dialogue.

Thank you.


Secretary-General Appoints New Sustainable Development Goals Advocates

9 May, 2019

Peace, prosperity, people, planet, and partnerships.

The principles at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are also what drive the new class of SDG Advocates, appointed today by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. These 17 influential public figures are committed to raising awareness, inspiring greater ambition, and pushing for faster action on the SDGs, which were adopted by world leaders on 25 September 2015.

United Nations Member States agreed to accomplish the SDGs by 2030. To build the momentum for transformative, inclusive development by 2030, the Secretary-General’s SDG Advocates will use their unique platforms and leadership to inspire cross-cutting mobilization of the global community.

“We have the tools to answer the questions posed by climate change, environmental pressure, poverty and inequality. They lie in the great agreements of 2015 – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

But tools are no use if you don’t use them. So, today, and every day, my appeal is clear and simple. We need action, ambition and political will. More action, more ambition and more political will,” said the Secretary-General.

The Secretary-General has tasked the Advocates with driving that action, building that ambition, and solidifying global political will.

The Advocates represent the universal character of the SDGs, hailing from Governments, entertainment, academia, sport, business and activist organizations around the world. The Advocates will leverage and build bridges between their unique audiences, and work together to drive progress.

“By joining forces to achieve our goals, we can turn hope into reality – leaving no one behind,” said Co-Chair of the SDG Advocates group Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway.

Said Co-Chair of the SDG Advocates and President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, “This is a time of great hope for the world. If we work smartly together and stay on course, we can raise millions out of poverty and significantly expand basic social services for many more by the 2030 end date of the SDGs.” 

The Secretary-General has appointed some members of the previous class of SDG Advocates as SDG Advocate Alumni, and looks forward to their ongoing support and engagement.

For more information, please visit

2019 ECOSOC Partnership Forum

11 April, 2019

On April 11th, UN Office for Partnership, UN Global Compact and UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) convened the annual ECOSOC Partenership Forum. Drawing on the expertise of influential thought-leaders and partnership practioners, the Forum showcased good practices and lessons learned on the role of multi-stakeholder partnerships in driving inclusion and impacts. Special focus was given to partnership efforts that have been supporting the SDGs that will be reviewed during the July 2019 session of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF): education (SDG 4); decent work and economic growth (SDG 8); reduced inequalities (SDG 10); climate action (SDG 13); and peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16).


The Forum opened with an informal High-Level Conversation, and was followed by three substantive dialogues that showcased partnership platforms led by national governments, the effectiveness of UN-associated partnerships, and the work of the UNSDG Strategic Results Group on Partnerships.  These conversations tailored to all stakeholders, including Member States, regional/ intergovernmental organizations, multi-lateral development banks, NGOs, the private sector, philanthropic organizations, local governments, parliaments, academia, and UN entities, among others.


An analytical summary will be prepared capturing the key policy messages of the Forum, which will serve as a direct input to the HLPF.

For more information on the 2019 ECOSOC Partnership Forum, please click here.

UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion

14 March, 2019

The week of 14 March, at the United Nations Environmental Assembly in Nairobi, we launched the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion @unfashionalliance. For the first time, UN organisations who’s work relates to fashion came together to bring one UN voice to fashion. 


We want to turn fashion into a driver of implementation for the Sustainable Development Goals. 


 The fashion industry today needs to change. It is the worlds’ second biggest consumer of water, and significantly contributes to climate change, producing 8-10% of greenhouse gasses. Employing 75 million people worldwide, there is major work to be done in ensuring worker’s rights and decent working conditions.


The UN organisations that are part of the Alliance work in many areas – from environmental protection to ethical production and worker protection to private sector advisory. Combining this knowledge and expertise will multiply efforts and help to turn the fashion industry into a driving force for the Sustainable Development Goals. Watch this space!

For updates on the launch, use #UNfashion or follow @unfashionalliance on instagram.

Conscious Fashion Campaign

The role of the fashion industry in sustainable development is critical. The fashion industry is not only a key component of global economy, but one of the largest employers in the world, especially for women who make 80% of the supply chain. It also has a significant impact on the environment being a top user of natural resources. Nearly 20 percent of global waste water is produced by the fashion industry, which also emits about ten percent of the global carbon emissions.

The Conscious Fashion Campaign is dedicated to advancing fashion innovators addressing the world’s most pressing issues to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The Conscious Fashion Campaign has partnered with PROJECT WOMENS during MAGIC FW’19 (5-7 February) and hosted an exhibition and debut a look book collaboration with Mimi El-Ashiry. Mimi’s vision for the first ever PROJECT WOMENS lookbook is a celebration of the green and glowing grandeur of the Byron Hinterland; beautifully contrasted looks standing out among nature’s splendour.

Moreover, the Conscious Fashion Campaign collaborated with Pure London, UK’s largest tradeshow event, which took place 10th-12th February. The aim of the event was sharing strategic thinking, new technology, innovation and sustainable directional collections.

COTERIE is an upcoming event where Conscious Fashion Campaign also collaborated in last year edition. COTERIE is a platform for women designers to connect with international known retailers. The initiative aims to harness the power of retailers, media and celebrities to embrace impact-driven fashion brands to create positive change and encourage conscious consumerism.


For more information about the Conscious Fashion Campaign click here


Women's Empowerment Forum: Investing in Equality 

14 March, 2019

Women's Empowerment Forum is an annual HL event that will take place 14 March to highlight the opportunity to advance gender equality and accelerate the pace of change by shifting markets to recognize the potential of women.

The forum brought together over 500 leaders from WEPs signatory companies, governments, the United Nations, civil society and academia through fireside chats, panels and interactive discussions. The 2019 WEPs Forum focused on lessons learned and good practices that can be replicated or scaled up in three main areas: Gender Smart Investing, the Future of Work, and Sexual Harassment.


Pictured Left-Right: Robert Skinner, Executive Director of UN Office for Partnerships, Lise Kingo, Executive Director of UN Global Compact, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngucka, Under-Secretary General of UN Women.

Credit: Courtesy of UN Global Compact


Corruption: Practical steps toward building anti-corruption measures into IWT intervention

The UN Office for Partnerships in collaboration with Wildlife Jusitce Comission and the UK Mission will convene and event on the 4th March that will focus on presenting anonymised examples of corruption in the illegal wildlife trade and building anti-corruption measures with a focus on tangible and practical recommendations to tackle illegal wildlife trade.

The Library Study Hall Sustainable Fashion Summit

1 February 2019                                                                                    
The Library and the UN Office for Partnerships hosted The Library Study Hall Sustainable Fashion Summit, in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ICT), Parsons, Fashion Revolution and Conscious Fashion Campaign. The half day event gathered industry experts, designers, scientists, and UN representatives to inspire collaborations to advance the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and move the needle toward a sustainable future in fashion.


"Good for the Earth, Good for the People", the theme of this year's conference had a focus on the following three themes: Circular Fashion, Sustainability and Innovation. The purpose of the event was to explore good practices on environmental impact and human rights and to provide a platform where businesses and civil society can share their knowledge related to SDGs and sustainable fashion.
The event featured speakers from diverse backgrounds and sectors such as famous designer Dapper Dan, Leland Melvin astronaut, first female pro Skater for Adidas Nora Vasconcellos and Amanda Nguyen, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for founding Rise an organization that helps women. All of them gave their perspective on how fashion can help not only to mitigate environmental issues but also solving problems that affect people.
The shared good practices and knowledge on the importance of making the fashion industry more sustainable will raise awareness and encourage sustainable fashion to become the norm.


To watch the entire summit, please click here



Contact Us

1 United Nations Plaza, Room DC1-1330
New York, NY 10017

Phone: (212) 963-1000
Fax (212) 963-1486