Good morning, and welcome to our second meeting this year – and a special welcome to those joining the meeting for the first time.
I would also like to greet the observers from the Governments of Germany and Norway who are representing the group of Governments that are supporting our initiative.
Each of you has great demands on your time, so I want to emphasize how much we appreciate your contribution to the Global Compact.
Your engagement could not come at a more promising time.
After more than a decade of building principles, issue platforms and Local Networks, the Global Compact is now poised to bring business action and solutions to bear on global challenges on a transformative scale.
We saw the potential of the Global Compact most recently in Rio de Janeiro at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development.
The Corporate Sustainability Forum catalyzed the largest ever private sector engagement in a United Nations event and demonstrated that the Global Compact is capable of mobilizing significant private sector action in support of UN goals.
Looking forward, the Millennium Development Goals 2015 deadline is approaching, and the Global Compact has been charged with helping to engage business in the post-2015 global development agenda.
In the year ahead, we will also be developing a new partnership mechanism for the UN.
This offers an enormous opportunity to scale up current efforts to engage business in contributing to UN priorities – such as health, energy, food and nutrition, climate and water – at unprecedented levels.
I hope you will ensure this important strategic alignment.
It is an ideal time for the Global Compact to undergo a strategic review, and I am glad this is on today’s agenda.
It is crucial that we assess how the initiative can prepare for the next phase of growth – with the goal of reaching 20,000 companies by 2020.
This will be essential to making corporate sustainability a significant force in achieving a shared, secure and sustainable future.
Let me pose five key questions:
How can we better empower our 100 Local Networks?
How can we improve and expand issue platforms – such as Caring for Climate and the Women’s Empowerment Principles?
How can we strengthen links between the Global Compact and the rest of the UN system?
How can the Global Compact concretely scale up its support for multistakeholder partnership initiatives?
And do we need to improve the governance framework?
I have asked Georg Kell and Sir Mark to lead the strategic review process, supported by the Board’s collective expertise.
I count on each of you to champion the Global Compact – locally and globally -- and to use your influence and example to advance its principles.
Next year’s Global Compact Leaders Summit is a critical opportunity to move the initiative to the next level.
Your guidance can ensure the event showcases how business can inspire change and make markets more inclusive and sustainable.
Business must be a key partner in securing a healthier planet and more prosperous and equitable societies.
Your commitment is essential – and it is greatly valued.
With such a Board, the Global Compact is in good hands.
I thank you and look forward to hearing your views.