With the business contribution to UN goals and objectives at an all-time high, and the UN in a process of determining its development framework as targets of the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015; this is an opportune moment for business and the Global Compact to help shape the future priorities of the UN.
Delivering a better future for all requires action by all – Governments, corporations, citizens, consumers, workers, investors and educators. Undoubtedly, the private sector has a central role to play. As the world’s main source of economic activity, business is at the heart of virtually any widespread improvements in living standards.
Markets are essential for creating and diffusing solutions that will drive the changes our world needs. But, this will not happen through business as usual. Investment and business activity must be sustainable – delivering value not just financially, but also in social, environmental and ethical terms.
Business is increasingly forming alliances to address the world’s most urgent development issues. Recognizing the importance of shared values, some of these collaborations have reached significant scale in areas such as water, gender equality and climate change.
Assessing the issues that comprise the UN development agenda and providing a role for business in the post-2015 process will help the Global Compact achieve its mission – to make corporate sustainability a transformative force in achieving a shared, secure and sustainable future.
Member States are currently discussing the possibility of a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to complement or replace the MDGs. According to the mandate laid down by Governments at Rio+20 in 2012, the proposed SDGs would be consistent with the post-2015 development agenda, and would be centered on the principles of sustainable development.
Interest in partnerships and the role of business in this process is growing among member states. Since the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum in June 2012 the Global Compact has been positioned to convey the business perspective to the post-2015 development process.
The following activities underway will form the basis for input submitted in the coming year to the UN Secretary General’s synthesis report and to member states’ deliberations:
The Global Compact has developed a series of “issue briefs” addressing the post-2015 development agenda and related sustainable development goals. Each of the ten papers explores a different priority issue area as identified through extensive consultations with LEAD companies and other stakeholders. This briefing series outlines the critical role business has to play in achieving sustainable development goals. Furthermore, the papers highlight the willingness of the business community to support the efforts of governments and civil society in creating a more sustainable and equitable world. These issue briefs have been presented to the co-chairs of the inter-governmental Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.
The Global Compact especially encourages Government and UN representatives to review these issue briefs to learn more about how the private sector can best support each of the following global priority issues:
The triennial Global Compact Leaders Summit (New York September 2013), convened under the theme Architects of a Better World, brought together chief executives with leaders from civil society, Government and the United Nations to unveil the Business Engagement Architecture to align and scale up business action in support of sustainable development priorities.
The Global Compact Leaders Summit was convened in the days ahead of UN General Assembly discussions of progress on the MDGs and the post-2015 agenda. At the Leaders Summit UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon unveiled the Post-2015 Business Engagement Architecture which illustrates the main building blocks necessary to enhance corporate sustainability as an effective contribution to sustainable development, creating value for both business and society.
Download Building the Post-2015 Business Engagement Architecture. Click here for the press release: [details].
Following the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum in June 2012, the Global Compact began gathering input and perspectives from the private sector for the UN Secretary-General to inform the discussions at the UN General Assembly plenary in September 2013. The findings gathered during those consultations fed into other post-2015 processes, such as the High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and was brought to entities such as the inter-agency UN Development Group to contribute directly to recommendations made to member states.
Key milestones of the first round of consultations included:
The findings of this consultation process were compiled in the June 2013 report to the UN Secretary-General on Corporate Sustainability and the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda: Perspectives from UN Global Compact Participants on Global Priorities and How to Engage Business Towards Sustainable Development Goals. Click here for press release: [details].
For more information regarding the Global Compact’s role in the post-2015 development process please contact Marie Wibe (wibe <at> un.org).