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Calling for a New Era of Global Leadership, UN Secretary-General Urges Business Action on Climate and Other Global Challenges

(Davos, 29 January 2008) – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged business leaders worldwide to embrace “global cooperation and partnership on a scale never before seen” and to eschew short-term thinking and seek long-term solutions to climate change and other pressing global challenges.

The Secretary-General’s call came during a special session on the United Nations Global Compact at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos/Switzerland.

Calling 2009 “the year of multiple crises”, the Secretary-General stressed that, amid worries over a global recession, climate change “threatens all our goals for development and social progress”, but that it also “presents us with a gilt-edged opportunity” to invest in sustainable technologies and spur long-term growth. “I encourage you to help create a future based on a low-carbon economy”, he said, and renewed previous appeals to business to join the movement for a comprehensive and meaningful agreement on climate change, to be negotiated later this year in Copenhagen.

Reflecting on progress made by the UN Global Compact in past years, the Secretary-General called for a new phase of the initiative, marked by a renewed commitment to the core principles of human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption. He also urged companies to embrace accountability and disclose progress. “By doing so, you will not only be doing what is right”, the Secretary-General said. “You will also be helping to restore trust, confidence and credibility into the markets.”

Full text of the Secretary-General’s speech.

Media Contact

Matthias Stausberg
UN Global Compact