Business Role Highlighted Throughout the UN’s High-Level Political Forum Sustainable Development Meetings – Momentum towards UNGA Week
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) were agreed to measure progress and achievements towards a sustainable future through a series of 17 goals adopted by the UN General Assembly, as part of the 2030Agenda for Sustainable Development. During this year’s annual UN High-Level Political Forum, held from July 10 – 19 at UN headquarters in New York, the UN member states, agencies and partners met to discuss paths to implementation and to accelerate progress on the SDGs. USCIB and its members were on the ground during the HLPF highlighting the role of engaging all business sectors to advance environmental, economic and social cooperation for the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Speaking to the HLPF, USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment Norine Kennedy stated, “Innovation, infrastructure, economic growth and empowerment and good governance are the four inter-linked cornerstones for all 17 SDGs for business. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with private sector groups at the national and regional level to develop enabling frameworks for business actions to advance the SDGs.”
USCIB policy experts and members joined the SDG Business Forum on July 18, the first business-organized meeting held in the UN’s General Assembly Hall. Speakers from the UN, governments, NGOs and business discussed private sector investment, information sharing and public-private partnership to take forward the 17 SDGs. The Forum was organized by the Global Business Coalition for 2030, a coalition of major business organizations and the UN Global Compact, facilitated by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
USCIB member KPMG’s Nick Chism, deputy head of Global Sales and Markets and global chair of Infrastructure, Government & Healthcare, discussed the importance of creating business-friendly environment and opportunities, indicating that enabling environments will lead to more private sector investment. Business speakers throughout the HLPF echoed the conviction that neither the SDG’s nor the wider 2030 Agenda can be achieved without active participation of business and industry, to drive inclusive economic growth and prosperity, and develop and deploy innovative technologies and practices.
For this year’s HLPF, USCIB members, including Bechtel, Cargill, Citi, Hilton, Monsanto, Novozymes and Pirelli, added new examples of actions to advance the SDGs to USCIB’s Businessfor2030 web platform.
This year’s HLPF also included several important side events in which USCIB and the International Chamber of Commerce took part:
Agriculture and Food Day, with the International Agrifood Network, July 13
USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener supported USCIB’s longtime partner, the International Agri-Food Network (IAFN), on their event focusing on SDG 2, Ending Hunger, during their side-event, Agriculture and Food Day on July 13. IAFN partnered with leading organizations to host this event to celebrate, discuss, negotiate, analyze, and brainstorm around the role of the agricultural and food sector in relation to the implementation of the SDGs. Agriculture and Food Day summarized the importance of targeting the agricultural sector and food issues to reach the SDGs by 2030. IAFN has been a consistent champion for a stand-alone goal on sustainable agriculture and food security.
However, “solutions cannot address just one goal, but must look to make a difference to several at once,” noted Michener. “The purpose of Agriculture and Food Day was to examine how focusing on agricultural and food policy could achieve not only Goal 2 but make substantive contributions to the achievement of the other 16 goals. Investments made in agriculture — the dominant occupation for the world’s poorest people — can accomplish much beyond Goal 2, including improvements in health, incomes, trade, infrastructure, and the environment,” he said.
Accelerating Women’s Economic Empowerment to Achieve the 2030 Agenda, with UN Women and ICC, July 17
USCIB’s Vice President for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner attended this SDG5 event. SDG 5 aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls and calls for enhanced use of enabling technology –information and communications technologies (ICT’s) in particular—to promote the empowerment of women.
The event showcased the global efforts stakeholders have embarked on to bring women’s economic empowerment to the forefront of all the SDG targets.
“Through innovation, investment and development of products and services, the private sector plays an important role in advancing gender equality and improving the lives of women,” said Wanner.
ICC highlighted several private sector initiatives during the side-event that are catalyzing women’s economic empowerment in developed and developing countries and presented the role of ICT’s in advancing the SDG’s.
Participants included contributors to the UN Secretary General High-Level Panel for Women’s Economic Empowerment and representatives from the governments of the United Kingdom and Costa Rica, UN Women, the International Labor Organization, ICC Secretary General John Danilovich, and Carolyn Nguyen of Microsoft who is also vice-chair of the ICC Commission on the Digital Economy. For additional information on this event, please visit ICC’s website.
In his concluding remarks to the HLPF, ICC Secretary General John Danilovich noted, “There can be no doubt that the private sector means business when it comes to the SDG’s. Since their inception, I’ve said the SDG’s should be known as the BDG’s, the Business Development Goals, and that’s because their achievement represents a clear economic imperative. Business engagement on the UN SDG’s is not only a powerful way to enhance society’s trust but also a great business opportunity. Achieving the SDG’s opens up $12 trillion in market opportunity in sectors such as food, energy, health and cities.”