New York, NY , United States of America
UNITED NATIONS, New York, 20 September 2021 —
The United Nations’ Global Compact’s Private Sector Forum kicked off as part of Uniting Business LIVE today (Monday 20 September) with the UN Secretary-General, five Heads of State and dozens of CEOs and business leaders highlighting how the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare global inequities and set back progress in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.
They cautioned that as countries battle the pandemic and look to the future, the crisis calls for an urgent rethinking and transformation in how Governments, civil society and the private sector work together to strive for sustainability and inclusivity.
Business leaders noted that an unprecedented collaboration between the public and private sectors has been key in global efforts to end the pandemic, especially in terms of COVID testing and the development, production and distribution of vaccines. They noted that a similar spirit of collaboration can be applied to tackle issues in the future such as climate change, poverty and public health.
Health experts warned, however, that a lack of progress in supplying developing nations with vaccines threatens not only those countries but the world at large by constraining supply chains and economies and fostering tensions and unrest.
Interest is growing in corporate boardrooms and among shareholders in increased social responsibility and in instilling sustainability within business plans and strategies, company leaders told the meeting, and investing in sustainability is increasingly seen as an opportunity for businesses to grow value and make a positive difference.
One such opportunity for the private sector is a new and ambitious Africa Strategy launched on Monday by the UN Global Compact to mobilize businesses in the quest for equity and sustainability in the resource-rich, geographically vast and politically diverse continent. Under the Africa Strategy, the Global Compact will establish a hub in Abuja, Nigeria. It will recruit and support the continent’s most exemplary and promising companies, focusing on the Ten Principles of the Global Compact and on Sustainable Development Goals critical to business success -- gender equality; decent work and economic growth; climate action; peace, justice and strong institutions; and partnerships.
The day ended with a call for unity and a lively performance by Rocky Dawuni, an international reggae star and humanitarian from Ghana.
All today’s sessions will be posted to UNGC's You Tube channel in the coming hours and days.