The UN Ocean Conference

This conference, coinciding with World Oceans Day, seeks to discuss and promote the implementation of SDG 14: conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Annual General Meetings of both the International Agri-Food Network (IAFN) and the Private Sector Mechanism (PSM)

Three key messages are to be discussed during the annual general meeting of the IAFN/PSM:

(1) Business wants to be involved and can bring constructive, practical insights;

(2) Business has specific proposals for engagement in CFS work streams (nutrition, SDGs, MYPOW, women’s empowerment); and

(3) Business would like to partner more effectively on food security and nutrition issues, so selecting good priority issues for CFS where consensus can be built is important.

ECOSOC Financing for Development Follow-up

This event brings together large numbers of high-level participants to review progress on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda agreed in 2015. The 2016 Forum resulted in conclusions and recommendations that were included in the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development

2nd Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Forum

Launched in 2016, the annual collaborative STI Forum is meant to bring partners together to examine technology needs and gaps, regarding scientific cooperation and innovation, in addition to technology transfer, facilitation and development for the sustainable development goals. The Forum will involve representatives from civil society, the private sector and the scientific community.

UNFCCC Bonn Climate Change Conference

The UNFCCC Bonn Climate Change Conference consists of meetings of subsidiary bodies of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP), which may have important implications for international climate change agreements, particularly the Paris Agreement. It will include a workshop on the role of non-state actors in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

USCIB Urges Trump Administration to Remain Engaged in UN Climate Talks

With senior advisors in the Trump administration set to meet tomorrow to discuss U.S. engagement in the UN and other international climate change discussions, USCIB has urged the administration to keep the U.S. seat at the table.

Earlier this month, in a letter to the White House, USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson wrote: “In spite of challenges and shortcomings in the UN climate policy arena, USCIB reaffirms its support for the United States to continue as a Party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement.”

However, USCIB’s letter, which was sent April 17 to National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, explicitly recommended that the U.S. place a number of conditions on continued engagement, including reassessing existing U.S. emissions reduction and related commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement in the context of broader consultation with the private sector.

The letter further recommended that the U.S. insist on greater access and transparency in the UN climate negotiation process for U.S. economic stakeholders, call on the UN to discourage unilateral trade measures related to climate, and work through the UN and other international forums to foster speedier development and deployment of environmentally sound technologies.

“Addressing climate change and its impacts will require a long-term international cooperative approach with due attention to national circumstances and priorities to assure ongoing economic development,” Robinson wrote. “USCIB members are convinced that U.S. engagement and leadership are required to champion economically sound approaches to energy and climate change risks that advance U.S. economic prosperity and create new job and market opportunities for U.S. businesses at home and abroad.”

USCIB Convenes Multistakeholder Roundtable on Business and Infrastructure for SDGs

L-R: USCIB Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment Norine Kennedy, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, and Ambassador Lisa Kubiske from the U.S. State Department

As the UN gears up for its annual high-level political forum (HLPF) to review progress on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in July, the international community is turning its attention to SDG 9—building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation. The extensive role of infrastructure in achieving all 17 SDGs prompted USCIB to organize a ‘Business for SDGs’ roundtable on Infrastructure last Friday, April 21, hosted by Covington LLP in Washington DC.

Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s vice president for strategic international engagement, energy and environment and the lead for USCIB’s work on the sustainable development goals opened the meeting and served as the event’s master of ceremonies.  “USCIB’s SDG Working Group realized that no SDG can be delivered without the right ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ infrastructure, such as education, financial inclusion, food systems and healthcare, in place. The pipeline for bankable projects for both has to accelerate to broadly deploy and leverage business resources and know,” said Kennedy.

The event, held on the margins of the UN Financing for Development Infrastructure Forum, drew participants from government and business, including USCIB member companies AT&T, Bechtel, Citi, KPMG, MasterCard, and Monsanto as well as the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, NGO groups such as the Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation, and U.S. government representatives, notably Ambassador Lisa Kubiske from the U.S. Department of State who gave closing remarks.

The roundtable discussed obstacles to and best practices in public private partnerships for infrastructure projects, challenges in removing barriers or dealing with corruption, and the importance of scaling U.S. business investment, and the role of business in developing and utilizing SDG-relevant metrics. “There’s a huge financing gap, especially in terms of development and sustainable infrastructure projects around the world,” said Kubiske before citing U.S. government resources and initiatives that to de-risk and support U.S. companies competing for infrastructure projects, such as Power Africa.

“Investment in infrastructure is key to achieving a successful implementation of the SDGs,” emphasized Peter M. Robinson, USCIB’s CEO and president in discussing key takeaways from the roundtable. “We must actively search for ways to discourage governments from crowding out private investment; the implementation imperative requires scaling up business involvement and commercial opportunities. A first priority is to knock down obstacles to infrastructure investment, which can take the form of formal barriers to foreign investment in specific sectors or burdensome regulation affecting both foreign and domestic firms,” he said. Robinson’s remarks can be found here.

USCIB will host another roundtable on Innovation and SDGs in May in conjunction with the Financing for Development Forum.  Please see USCIB’s Businessfor2030 website for more information on the roundtable and other USCIB actions and engagement on the SDGs.

The Business for SDGs Roundtable on Infrastructure

Since the global adoption of the U.N. Agenda for 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the international community has turned its attention to implementation, and the resources from governments and business required to set the SDGs into motion.

In this regard, a pressing priority across all 17 SDGs is upgrading and building infrastructure for sustainable development.

The Roundtable participants will discuss:

  • where and how business is already planning for and investing in infrastructure for sustainability, what are the enabling frameworks, policies and
  • partnerships that can be scaled for impact;
  • what new sources and approaches exist to mobilize resources and advance bankable projects for sustainability infrastructure; and
  • which indicators to use to measure and report impacts of infrastructure investments by the private sector.

Both “hard” and “soft” forms of infrastructure have also figured prominently in the U.N. Financing for Development (FfD) process. The USCIB Roundtable will immediately precede the FfD Infrastructure Forum, and inform recommendations by USCIB to the U.N. High Level Political Forum meetings in July when they review SDG actions by governments, business and others.