22 April 2013

Secretary-General's video message to the World Chambers of Commerce Congress

I am pleased to send greetings to the Eighth World Chambers Congress.

Chambers of Commerce play a vital role in the world economy.

In these unpredictable times, we must help businesses respond to the challenges they face.

Business activity must be sustainable. It must deliver value – not just financially but also in social, environmental and ethical terms. This requires leadership, dedication and vision.

Businesses can make a major difference when they forge partnerships with governments and civil society.

Your far-reaching network can help extend responsible business practices around the world. You can contribute to greater gender equality, efforts to fight corruption and progress on climate change and sustainable energy.

I particularly call for you to use your influence to advance the status of women. This is critical to promoting human rights. It is also an economic issue. When we enable women to join the workforce on equal terms, we boost wellbeing throughout society.

We are fast approaching the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. I urge business leaders to join me in the push to address poverty, hunger, illness and inequality. I also look to you for support as we move towards the post-2015 agenda.

I hope your session will inspire you to commit to contributing to a more sustainable future for our world.

In that spirit, I wish you a most productive Congress.

Thank you.