(Vienna) – Over 120 representatives from UN agencies, private sector companies and NGOs gathered for the annual United Nations System Private Sector Focal Points Meeting, which concluded today in Vienna. This meeting represented the largest ever turnout of UN and private sector representatives, demonstrating growing interest in this area.
The annual meetings serve to enhance communication, strengthen learning, advance coordination and improve collaboration among UN staff working with the private sector. Discussions focused on “Accelerating UN-Business Partnerships”, recognizing the important role the private sector plays in the realization of internationally-agreed goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
During the two-day event, a variety of relevant topics were presented, such as innovative partnerships for sustainable development; building partnerships with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); enhancing collaboration and coordination at the country-level; and UN brand management, due diligence and partner selection. Several business representatives with extensive experience in partnering with the UN provided their insights and recommendations for more effective partnerships between the UN and private sector.
In the lead-up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and the Corporate Sustainability Forum: Innovation and Collaboration for the Future We Want this June, Thomas Stelzer, Assistant Secretary-General, Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, DESA, participated in a session featuring UN-Business partnerships and innovative collaborations that are advancing the sustainability agenda. To advance UN goals and issues towards Rio+20, the Global Compact Office has launched an online platform for private sector commitments to action on the business.un.org website.
Georg Kell, Executive Director of the Global Compact, commented, “It’s wonderful to see the growing community of practitioners, with the sophistication and determination to move in the right direction.” He added that it is now time to build toward the next stage of transformational UN-business partnerships.
Robert Orr, Assistant Secretary General for Planning and Policy Coordination, Executive Office of the Secretary-General, closed the meeting and encouraged all participants to continue to build on the important work advanced during the meeting.
Following the UN Private Sector Focal Points meeting, the Global Compact LEAD Task Force on UN-Business Partnerships met to refine the concepts and functions of the UN Partnership Facility, due to be presented at Rio+20.
The official meeting report will be available shortly.
Head, Strategy and Partnerships
UN Global Compact