Correcting Biases in Economic System, Infrastructure Investment Key to Growth, Equality, Deputy Secretary-General Tells UN Global Compact Round Table

18 September 2017

Correcting Biases in Economic System, Infrastructure Investment Key to Growth, Equality, Deputy Secretary-General Tells UN Global Compact Round Table

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the UN Global Compact CEO Round Table, in New York today:

It is good to be with you today.  It is a positive sign that so many senior business leaders have joined us for this important meeting.  There are more private sector representatives than ever before from almost every industry.  A large number of new initiatives have been announced in support of the 2030 Agenda [for Sustainable Development].

While some would argue that we are reaching critical mass for changing the way we are doing business, others would say that it is still not sufficient to bring about systemic change.  Sustainable development depends on society being protected from life’s big risks.

Populations are increasing, the climate is changing, and without appropriate reforms, risk will grow significantly in the coming decades, at the cost of lives, livelihoods and trillions of dollars in loss and damage.

To deliver on the 2030 Agenda we have to correct the short-term biases in our economic system, the risk management blind spots and the allocation of capital to unsustainable uses.

The Sustainable Development Goals provide a common framework that can drive investment, growth and innovations.  Infrastructure is the foundation of modern-day civilization.  The world is in desperate need of infrastructure investment.  Yet, there is a stark funding gap.  And we are seriously underinvested in areas such as health, education and agriculture.

With the unprecedented level of global wealth today, we should not be surprised that today’s globalization accompanied by rising inequality has generated a loss of trust between citizens and those who represent them.  The United Nations has already done considerable work to align private finance with sustainable development and to highlight the collaboration required.  But much more needs to be done.

The Secretary-General will be championing a strategy on finance.  It will focus on three areas:  First, he will lead the United Nations system in an effort to ensure that the 2030 Agenda is more effectively embedded into international economic and financial policy making through key intergovernmental platforms such as the G-20, the G-7 and other forums.

Second, United Nations country teams will work harder on the ground to support countries in brokering partnerships for innovative finance and to better access resources for sustainable development — domestic and international, public and private.  Third, we will champion key international initiatives that can harness large-scale changes in financing and financial system development, such as in the fields of closing the digital divide, climate finance and in cooperating with major investment initiatives.

We need to scale up our efforts and our ambition to bring about systemic change.  The clock is ticking.  The longer we delay, the greater the costs to communities, to businesses, to economies and to the planet.

Your partnership is critical to the United Nations work.  I hope our strategy on finance will support and amplify your efforts and that, with the Global Compact, you can help to strengthen our ability to deliver for the people and planet.

The Secretary-General is planning to host a Finance Summit in New York in September, next year.  We count on your engagement.  Together we can build a better, more secure world for future generations.  I thank you for your engagement and partnership to help build a world that leaves no one behind.

For information media. Not an official record.