Global Compact: UN Private Sector Forum 2015

Opening remarks by Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, at UN Private Sector Forum 2015 – “Implementing the SDGs” hosted by Global Compact

26 September 2015


Excellencies, distinguished guests, good morning to you all.

It is my pleasure to join you here to discuss this universal and revolutionary 2030 Agenda, and the role which the private sector can play in support of implementation.

As announced earlier on this month, early progress on implementation will be one of the key priorities of my presidency.

To do so, we must first communicate these Goals to the entire world, to old and young people in developed and developing countries alike and engage all actors now.

Second, we must all examine what we will do to align with this new Agenda. In this regard, Global Compact’s leadership and commitment to mainstreaming corporate responsibility principles in companies’ decision-making processes is already a good start. And from human rights and labor standards to anti-corruption initiatives and sustainable patterns of production and consumption, the SDGs provide an inclusive and integrated agenda for all actors – to bring about better governance by all actors and to break down silos and short-termism which undermine our efforts.

Third, we must mobilize a much larger and more varied set of financial resources than was relied on for meeting the MDGs.

Of course, national governments will continue to have the primary responsibility for financing and managing their own development. But, however critical domestic resource mobilization will be, this will not be enough.

Strengthened international cooperation – north-south, south-south and triangular – will also be required. This includes cooperation to ensure that large companies as well as wealthy individuals, pay their taxes where they earn their money. And it means that rich countries must meet their commitments to provide Official Development Assistance, particularly to Least developed countries.

In addition, however, the private sector will be required to play a much more prominent role.  Thankfully, this process is already taking place. We have many examples of initiatives involving private finance, investors, philanthropists and the business sector in partnerships at all levels, with governments, International Organizations, UN entities and NGOs. At the same time, we are still far away from reaching the scale required to make a decisive impact. To help, in this regard, we need a stable regulatory framework that encourages sustainable investment and makes it obvious that green investment is the best investment – not only for the common good, but for private investors here and now.

Ladies and gentlemen, in many respects, the year ahead will go a long way to determining whether the 2030 Agenda becomes a vehicle for truly transformative change or yet another missed opportunity.

To maintain momentum, I will convene a High Level Thematic Debate next April aimed at demonstrating where implementation is happening; how partners can and are working together; and how we can keep the ball rolling and increase its momentum. I look forward to your participation and encourage you to consider what progress you will be able to report next April.

The task ahead is tremendous, but so too are the opportunities for action and transformation.

Your commitment, your energy and your engagement will be crucial.

Thank you.

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