23 September 2020

Business Sector Breaking New Ground in Sustainable Development, COVID-19 Response, Deputy Secretary-General Says, Issuing Call to ‘Go Further Faster’

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s video message at the closing of the Sustainable Development Goals Business Forum, held today:

I thank the International Chamber of Commerce, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the United Nations Global Compact for bringing together the private sector at this challenging time.  With the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging all corners of the world, this is a key moment to discuss lasting solutions for a more sustainable future, in line with Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement [on climate change].

Five years since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, I am encouraged by the response we are witnessing from the private sector.  I congratulate the business sector for the commitment demonstrated this Monday [21 September] at the United Nations Global Compact Private Sector Forum, where on the occasion of UN75 [the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations] over 100 CEOs from over 100 countries signed a statement of support for renewed global cooperation.

You are deeply engaged in all areas of Sustainable Development Goals implementation.  On the financing side, the Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance is breaking new ground, and you are developing products to support Government efforts to expand social protection and cash transfers.  You are transitioning investment portfolios to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and promoting youth innovation and gender equality.  You have stepped up to support efforts to overcome the COVID-19 crisis, for example, by facilitating online education for children and young people.

But we must go further, faster.  I welcome the Private Sector COVID-19 Global Facility, launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Global Compact and the International Chamber of Commerce to focus on public-private and private-private cooperation to unlock new possibilities for sustainable growth.  With the Sustainable Development Goals and the United Nations Global Compact's Ten Principles as a blueprint, this partnership can help to engage and support the private sector and our societies to recover better.

I commend the emphasis the Facility will put on country contexts to adapt its work to specific challenges and opportunities.  If we want our efforts to transform lives, we need to work at the country level, making full use of the Global Compact country networks and working hand in hand with other partners, with the support of our Resident Coordinators and United Nations country teams, and building on national COVID-19 socioeconomic response plans.

More than ever before, we need solidarity, hope and the political will to see this crisis through together.  We have the knowledge, capacity and innovation needed.  If we are ambitious enough, we can gather the full complement of resources required to implement the Sustainable Development Goals successfully.  Let us rise to meet the moment.

For information media. Not an official record.