Breakfast Roundtable to Discuss Business Innovation for the SDGs
As governments and stakeholders gathered for the third annual United Nations Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for the SDGs in New York on June 5-6, USCIB organized a timely breakfast roundtable on the margins of the forum titled, “Together for Impact: Business Innovation for the SDGs” on June 6. USCIB partnered with the U.S. Department of State and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to launch a practical and productive dialogue between USCIB member companies and UN missions and agencies.
The roundtable – held at Pfizer’s Headquarters in New York – brought together UN Missions, UN Agencies, and USCIB Member companies to discuss opportunities to partner and scale up the deployment of business innovation in order to deliver progress on the SDGs. Representatives of companies, governments and the UN system began a practical dialogue on operationalizing private sector innovations through conducive enabling regulatory frameworks and inclusive international cooperation.
Monsanto, Ferrero, Pfizer, Novozymes, LexisNexis and CropLife International presented examples of how the private sector is working with other stakeholders to advance innovative technologies and knowledge-sharing. Japanese Ambassador and Co-Chair of the STI Forum Toshiya Hoshino gave a government and UN perspective, as did Judith Arrieta, on behalf of Ambassador Juan Sandoval Mendiolea of Mexico, co-chair of STI Forum. Also attending the meeting were the co-chairs and several members of the UN “10 Member Advisory Group” to the STI Forum, including Dr. Vaughan Turekian of the National Academy of Sciences.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Kelley Currie opened the meeting, highlighting the importance of bringing the private sector, that is increasingly embracing and operationalizing SDG-related innovations – in terms of products, services, ways of producing, and the means of cooperation itself – into partnership with the UN system. In her keynote speech, she stated that, “there are such good intentions on all sides, and a great deal of achievement and potential to offer. Three years after 2015, Addis and New York and Paris, those who understand the imperative of stepped up deployment of solutions do need to find ways to advance those opportunities, to bridge what appear to be missed opportunities and take them forward for shared impact and benefit. Business too has to do more to encourage such a “skin in the game” working relationships, including through public-private partnerships.”
USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson remarked, “dissemination and deployment of technologies and know-how for the widest possible societal benefits are imperatives that can only be advanced by working together with the US business community. That is why USCIB called this meeting, for systems thinking and more importantly systems doing, and to cultivate systemic collaboration and knowledge-sharing.”
In concluding the meeting, Andrew Wilson, ICC’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, brought the discussion back to the fundamental question of where governments and the multilateral system need private sector involvement most. “Clearly we need more interactions like this one to determine solutions from business that can be widely deployed to help advance the SDGs.”
USCIB and its members will continue to work with governments to ensure that business views and contributions to innovation for the SDGs in the form of products, initiatives and implementation are heard, welcomed, and taken into account at important meetings like the UN High Level Political Forum (UN HLPF) as well as at future UN STI sessions.