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Business Making Critical Contributions to Millennium Development Goals

2005-09-13

NEW YORK, 12 September (Global Compact Office) -- The private sector is a vital partner in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and companies are steadily making unique and significant contributions to development through responsible practices. This is the message that business leaders and policy experts will deliver at an international forum on business and development in New York City.

InWEnt Capacity Building International, jointly with the World Bank Institute, Brazil’s Instituto Ethos and the UN Global Compact, is hosting the 10th International Business Forum, “Business and the Millennium Development Goals: An Active Role for Globally Responsible Companies”, from 11 – 13 September in New York. More than 200 business leaders and entrepreneurs, politicians and civil society representatives from countries around the world are gathering to discuss the contribution of business to the MDGs and how the private sector’s efforts can be enhanced. The three-day meeting immediately precedes the United Nations’ Millennium+5 Summit.

In today’s global society, business interests increasingly overlap with development objectives. Business operations – from micro-enterprises to multinationals – are greatly impacted by health, security and development factors. Conversely, without the multi-faceted contribution of business – through generating employment and income, delivering technical skills, and value-creation – the Millennium Development Goals cannot be met.

To further explore this dynamic, forum participants are considering issues both broad and narrow in scope, from how managers best serve business interests by engaging in programs which direct company resources toward socially and environmentally responsible activities, to the growth of the food industry in the poorest of nations within Africa and the role of the global packaging business in implementing school milk programs in the least developed regions of Asia.

Key speakers include:

  • President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic;
  • Kemal Derviş, UNDP Administrator;
  • Eckhard Deutscher, Executive Director of the World Bank, Germany;
  • Uschi Eid, Parliamentary State Secretary of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ);
  • Firmino Gabriel Mucavele, Chief Executive NEPAD Secretariat;
  • Jeffrey D. Sachs, Head of the UN Millennium Project and Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan; and
  • Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, President of the African Business Roundtable and Group Chairman of BHI Holdings Limited.

At the meeting on 13 September, the UN Global Compact will release its report “Business UNusual: Facilitating United Nations Reform through Partnerships” (Download: Part 1 - Part 2), an assessment of the partnership agenda across the UN system. The report explores how partnerships with business act as a catalyst for reform and institutional innovation throughout the UN organization by infusing private sector management practices and performance-based thinking. “Business UNusual” concludes that partnerships have an increasingly important role to play as a complementary approach to the conventional instruments of international cooperation and development. The report’s release will be accompanied by a keynote address from the recently-appointed UNDP Administrator, Kemal Derviş.

One of the meeting’s key speakers, Dr. Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, will have the distinct honor of being the sole business representative to speak at the UN General Assembly during the Millennium+5 Summit. His address at the United Nations on 16 September will focus on the vital role that business plays in meeting the societal commitments embodied in the MDGs and how that contribution must be advanced.

The 10th International Business Forum in New York is supported by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the OECD, the International Chamber of Commerce and the Millennium Project of the United Nations, among many others.

10th International Business Forum 2005:

“Business and the Millennium Development Goals: An Active Role for Globally Responsible Companies”
11 - 13 September 2005
Helen & Martin Kimmel Center
New York University, New York City
Program and Information: www.businessandmdgs.org

For media registration and requests, please contact:

Carrie Hall, UN Global Compact
Office: +1 917 367 5232, Mobile: +1 917 921 5779
E-Mail: hallc@un.org