Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the Business Sector Steering Committee, in Addis Ababa today:
Thank you for being here today at the International Business Forum of the United Nations Third International Conference on Financing for Development.
Member States have come together to establish a new financing framework for sustainable development. It is clear that responsible business and investment will play a critical role. I am pleased to see so many leaders from the private sector here today.
After a post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development goals are adopted in September, implementation will be the true test. The financing requirements to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030 will far surpass current development flows.
We will need complementary forms of financing. A successful agreement this week is crucial. All sources of funding must be tapped — public and private, national and international. Domestic resource mobilization will be at the crux of the agenda. But in too many countries domestic attempts to raise public resources through taxation remain hampered by loopholes, tax avoidance and evasion.
Private investment and the business sector have important financing roles. But many private international capital flows are volatile and insufficient to fund sustainable development, particularly in countries most in need.
The Third International Conference on Financing for Development provides a unique chance to help formulate a new international financial framework that is predictable and effective in meeting these challenges and achieving sustainable and inclusive development.
We invite the private sector to be our partners in supporting and financing this agenda, including through partnerships and collaboration.
I am very encouraged that our United Nations Global Compact has rallied business behind these important issues. With over 8,000 companies and 4,000 non-business stakeholders in 160 countries, the Global Compact can mobilize a global force of businesses for good.
But more must be done. 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. I also urge even greater engagement in socially responsible investment and environmental, social and governance issues.
While measures in these areas are growing, their impact remains limited. For this reason, we have to consider innovative approaches that create incentives and a regulatory framework so investors can better align their investment strategies with economic, social and governance issues.
In addition, Governments must provide enabling environments domestically and internationally and help build capacities. Civil society has an important role to play in bringing all voices to the table and ensuring that the financing framework addresses the needs of all people.
I am sure all of you have important ideas and proposals on how such policies could be framed. I encourage you to discuss them and put them into action.