Currently, 923 million people are suffering from hunger in the world. In 2007, largely as a
result of the high food prices, some 75 million people were pushed into hunger and poverty. By
2030, world agricultural production will have to increase by 50 percent to feed an additional 1.6
billion people and world food production will need to double to feed 9 billion people in 2050.
Private investment is crucial to boost agricultural production and rural development
To be opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Private Sector Forum will take place one
day before world leaders gather at the UN to assess overall progress towards the MDGs and
articulate a course of action that will seek a stronger role for the private sector in advancing
sustainable development. In this context, a new guide on
Sustainability and the Role of the Private Sector
, compiled by the UN Global Compact Office and
to be presented at the Forum, will highlight how companies from a broad range of industry sectors
can have an impact on long-term food sustainability through their operations and activities.
As the primary platform for UN-business interaction on the MDGs, the Forum will mobilize
corporations to step up their efforts around critical areas that directly affect access to and
availability of food: water availability and management; agricultural inputs and infrastructure;
financial mechanisms and risk management; nutrition; energy and biofuels; technological
Innovations; and; job creation for low-Income populations. Key outcomes of the Forum will be taken
forward in the three official roundtable sessions during the summit on 25 September.
During the Forum, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Compact, the UK
Government, the Clinton Global Initiative and the International Business Leaders Forum, in
collaboration with the World Economic Forum will launch the
Partnership for the Business Call to Action
. Companies, that sign up to the
Call to Action
will be challenged to develop specific core business initiatives and turn their
signatures into concrete actions. The Partnership will track commitments companies make, access
their contribution towards meeting the MDGs, and learn lessons on what works well for both
businesses and poor communities that can be replicated globally.
The Forum will also feature the launch of a new
for Business Engagement with the United Nations
, which was developed to more effectively
mobilize the private sector in contributing to the MDGs – particularly in the areas of greater
public-private synergy, coordination, scale and impact.
The first UN Private Sector Forum is co-organized by the UN Global Compact Office, the UN
Development Programme, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Global Alliance
for ICT and Development of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and the UN Office for
Partnerships, with additional support from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the
International Fund for Agricultural Development, the World Bank, the International Finance
Corporation, the UN Environment Programme, and the International Labour Organization.
Statements Attributable to Senior UN Officials
”High food prices are cancelling all global progress towards the MDG goal on hunger and
reversed a declining trend. Investment in agriculture is vital to alleviate this situation before
it worsens - public and private sector partnerships offer an excellent opportunity", said Dr.
Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
“The Business Call to Action is the next natural step in our effort to catalyze, inspire and
support increased private sector investments that can help achieve the MDGs,” said Kemal Derviş,
UNDP Administrator. “Meeting the challenges in our fight against poverty takes creativity. We are
presenting a new approach to develop long term business initiatives that will harness the central
strengths of global business - its resources and talents - to further our shared aims”.
“Simply ratcheting up and expanding the economic models and strategies of the 20th century
will not serve us well in the 21st one – not if we are to feed six, rising to nine billion people",
said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment
Programme (UNEP). "It is high time we made the link between the ecosystems and the biodiversity
that underpin agriculture in the first place, from forests and soil organisms to the multi-billion
dollar services provided by the world's rapidly disappearing bees. Investments in maintaining the
health and the productivity of these natural assets need to be urgently addressed alongside issues
such as reform of the global subsidy system”.
"The food crisis is still on. Prices have dropped since the summer, but staple cereals on the
global market still cost twice as much as they did two years ago”, said John Holmes, UN
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. “Whether run by
smallholders near the poverty line, local enterprises, or large corporations, agriculture is mainly
a private sector activity. The UN is counting on business to work with us and with governments as a
key partner in reinvigorating agriculture, as well as the enterprises that service and support it”.
“It is increasingly evident that ICT can significantly improve the economic prospects and
performance of countries at all level of development. The ICT Community can play a strategic role
by their innovations creating business opportunities for poor populations and countries”, said Sha
Zukang, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. “The partnership between the
private sector, donor communities and international institutions is needed to increase the level of
investment in ICT services and assure sustainable development and expand the economy. In this
context, I would like to invite you to join hands with the United Nations in a global partnership
to meet the challenges of opening up a new world of opportunities for those who have been, so far,
left behind, moving forward, together to a more prosperous, equitable and sustainable future for
"Private sector entities such as investors, agro-processors, traders and market agents are key
partners in IFAD-supported programmes in developing sustainable and innovative solutions to
problems facing small holder farmers in order to accelerate rural growth and development”, said
Lennart Bage, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
"WFP is working to not only fill the cup for the hungry but to make sure the cup contains the
nutrition that will allow children to reach their mental and physical potential", said Josette
Sheeran, Executive Director of the World Food Programme. "We need the private sector to bring their
innovation and entrepreneurship to these critical efforts".
“The private sector is a crucial and indispensable partner of the United Nations”, said Georg
Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. “This first Private Sector Forum comes at the
right moment. It will give the global business community an opportunity to make a lasting
contribution to advancing food sustainability and achieving the Millennium Development Goals”.
"Collaboration between the UN-system and private sector entities, foundations and
philanthropic organizations is essential to the success of global efforts to improve food and
nutritional security”, said Amir Dossal, Executive Director of the UN Office for Partnerships. “
Increased investment in agriculture will ensure that both public and private entities take a
sustainable approach to biofuel production. We are all aware of the inherent difficulties of
forging public private partnerships, but this issue is of such global and strategic significance
that none of us can afford to sit on then sidelines. In short, the UN is open for
Senior Liaison Officer , FAO Liaison Office to the UN
Spokesperson, Office of the Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
+254 (0) 733 632755 (mobile in Kenya)
+ 41 79 596 57 37 (mobile when traveling)
Spokesperson and Public Information Officer, OCHA
Media and Outreach, Secretariat of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development
Chief, Media Relations, Special Events and Programmes
International Fund for Agricultural Development
+39 06 54592485 /2215
+39 3357374859 (mobile)
Chief Spokesperson, North America, World Food Programme
Spokesperson, UN Global Compact
For information on the Business Call to Action, please contact: