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Global CEOs sign on to new UN goals at United Nations Private Sector Forum

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others discuss role of business in achieving sustainable development goals

NEW YORK, 26 September 2015 – More than 300 CEOs, Heads of State, UN and civil society leaders today attended the United Nations Private Sector Forum (PSF) to discuss the role of business in implementing the world's 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Addressing the meeting, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reflected on the success of the past 15 years, noting her optimism for the implementation of the SDGs. She called for the world to build on this momentum and continue to work together to achieve these global goals for 2030.

On 25 September, Heads of State and Government engaged in a General Assembly plenary that gave final approval to the SDGs, which will replace the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015) in January 2016. The result of extensive inter-governmental negotiation and input from the private sector and civil society, the overarching purpose of the SDGs is to eradicate poverty and combine elements of economic, social and environmental action, including climate change.

“First, companies need to do business responsibly and then pursue new opportunities, “said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “We would be closer to the world we want if companies everywhere took baseline actions like respecting employee rights … not polluting land, sea and air … and punishing corruption.”

Since 2008, the UN Private Sector Forum has annually gathered CEOs and Heads of State to the United Nations to discuss pressing issues such as climate change, global development, and human rights. Against the backdrop of the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015, this year’s Private Sector Forum – organized by the UN Global Compact, in close collaboration with UNICEF, UN Women, UN Volunteers, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, UN Office for South South Cooperation, the UN Foundation – focused on the role of the private sector in implementing SDGs.

As a keynote speaker, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg highlighted the critical role of business – in collaboration with other stakeholders -- in advancing the new United Nations global agenda adopted yesterday.  He announced Facebook’s commitment, together with a number other organizations, to make universal internet access a reality in the next decade.  “Connecting the world is one of the fundamental challenges of our generation,” said Zuckerberg. “For every ten people that get connected to the internet, one gets lifted out of poverty.”  

Emerging today from the PSF were announcements of more than 35 corporate commitments to benchmark sustainable development actions, including investment in low-carbon infrastructure, combatting corruption, gender equality in the workplace, access to and strengthening of healthcare services in the Least Developed Countries, and more. 

The urgent refugee crisis was a major topic of concern among participants. Responding to the Business Action Pledge in Response to the Refugees Crisis launched last week by the UN Global Compact and UNHCR (High Commission for Refugees) to mobilize business on this issue, several new commitments and partnerships were announced, including educational opportunities, job training, and healthcare for refugees as well as funding for refugee aid organizations in war-torn countries.   

The event also saw the launch of the SDG Compass – developed jointly by GRI, the UN Global Compact and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) – which is a guide for companies on how to take a strategic approach to the SDGs and enhance their contribution to sustainable development through core business activities.

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Notes to editors

• Several other SDG-related resources were launched in the context of the PSF including the SDG Industry Matrix and the Poverty Footprint.
• See compendium of corporate commitment here
• See full remarks by UN Secretary-General here
• Learn more about the SDG Compass here
• Learn more about UN Private Sector Partners here

About the UN Private Sector Forum 2015
Convened by the UN Global Compact, in close collaboration with the Office of the Post-2015 Development Planning and UN partners – UNICEF, UN Women, UN Volunteers, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, UN Office for South South Cooperation, the UN Foundation – the UN Private Sector Forum will be held in the context of the UN summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda. The UN Private Sector Forum will bring together Heads of State with chief executives and leaders from civil society and the UN to increase understanding of efforts underway by the private sector and civil society, and provide a platform for the private sector to announce long-term goals and partnerships that will make an important contribution towards achieving sustainable development for all.

For more information about the UN Private Sector Forum 2015, visit: www.unglobalcompact.org/UNPrivateSectorForum2015

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.  Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit: www.unicef.org

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For more information, please contact:
Elissa Jobson, UNICEF New York, Tel: + 1 212 326 7585; Mobile: + 1 917 340 3017 ejobson@unicef.org
Georgina Thompson, UNICEF New York, Mobile: + 1 917 238 1559, gthompson@unicef.org


 

 

 

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