UN Private Sector Forum* brought together top executives with government, UN and civil society leaders to address business role in achieving the MDGs
(New York) – Calling an investment in the Millennium Development Goals “an investment in growth, prosperity and the markets of the future”, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today issued a strong call to global business to support the UN’s mission to end poverty and hunger, expand access to education, enhance gender equality, improve maternal and child health, combat HIV/AIDS and foster greater environmental sustainability.
“We know how to achieve the MDGs, but we can only do it together,” the Secretary-General said at the opening of the UN Private Sector Forum, a meeting of more than 300 business executives with government, UN and civil society leaders to discuss ways in which companies can contribute to achieving the MDGs by 2015. The Forum was held in conjunction with the UN General Assembly’s high-level Summit assessing progress – as well as gaps and challenges – in achieving the eight MDGs first introduced in 2000.
Organized as a roundtable discussion, the UN Private Sector Forum addressed a wide range of MDG-related themes deemed most relevant for private-sector engagement and action, such as poverty and hunger, maternal and child health and HIV/AIDS, access to education through innovative information and communication technology (ICT), innovations for financial inclusion, women’s empowerment, achieving gender equality, and the green economy. The discussions aimed to help identify proven solutions that can help close critical MDG gaps around the world.
Business leaders at the Forum announced and discussed a number of new commitments and actions, including pro-poor business models, programs to improve access to quality healthcare or initiatives to promote women entrepreneurs. Participants also called for further government support to cultivate enabling environments for entrepreneurship and innovation.
In addition to the Secretary-General, speakers at the Private Sector Forum included Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Sir Richard Branson, World Bank President Robert H. Zoellick, and UN General Assembly President Joseph Deiss of Switzerland.
UN Global Compact
*The UN Private Sector Forum on the MDGs is organized by the UN Global Compact in collaboration with FAO, ICC, IFC, IFAD, ILO, UNAIDS, UNICEF, UN DESA, UNIFEM (part of UN Women), UNDP, UNESCO, UNEP, UNF, UNODC, UNOP, UNFPA, World Bank, and WFP.