On September 26, on the margins of the UN General Assembly, USCIB members met with UN and member state representatives to discuss U.S. business priorities in the UN’s new development agenda and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Hosted by Pfizer, the day of “UN door-knock” policy consultations included a Green Economies Dialogue luncheon roundtable on green growth aspects of the SDGs. (Click here to view videos from the event.)
“USCIB members are arguing for a strong focus on peace, security, good governance and economic growth in the SDGs,” said Clifford Henry (Procter & Gamble), Chair of USCIB’s Corporate Responsibility Committee, who led the business delegation. “These and other fundamental priorities underpin enabling conditions for job creation, environmental stewardship and economic development.”
USCIB members underscored the need for open trade and investment regimes, as well as strong intellectual property protection, as prerequisites for the deployment of business, financial, and technical expertise to advance development and address international challenges of energy access, food security and poverty eradication. Other companies taking part included American Chemistry Council, Diageo, ExxonMobil, General Electric and Pfizer.
In the morning, USCIB members met with Ambassador Takehiro Kagawa, of the Japanese Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and Daniella Ballou-Aares, Special Advisor on development to the U.S. Secretary of State. In the afternoon, Karina Gerlach, a member of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Expert Group for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and Shamshad Akhtar, the UN’s Assistant Secretary General for economic development, briefed the group on work-streams that make up the UN-wide effort – including the Experts Group on Finance for Sustainable Development – and suggested ways to involve business in these deliberations.
”Events like this one are an opportunity to advance a common agenda of prosperity and betterment of the human condition,” stated USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson in opening theGreen Economies Dialogue roundtable: Speakers from MIT, the U.S. State Department, the UN Development Program, the University of California at San Diego and the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided their perspectives on ways to prioritize and track economic aspects of progress under the SDGs, and the opportunity to engage the business community in developed and developing countries in partnerships as part of the UN post-2015 development deliberations.
The Green Economies Dialogue is a platform – created by USCIB and the United States Council Foundation in the lead-up to last year’s Rio+20 earth summit – for business to engage with national governments, thought leaders, representatives of international institutions and academics on green growth and green economy issues.
The second phase of the Green Economies Dialogue will concentrate on interaction with governments and the UN around the Post-2015 Development Agenda, especially concerning greener economic development and the formulation and pursuit of the SDGs. These goals are expected to drive UN activities, direct national budgets and influence stakeholder expectations in coming years, across a wide range of strategic issues, such as corporate responsibility, environmental regulation, and energy.
To aid in the development of business views and advocacy, USCIB has formed an SDG Working Group co-chaired by Brian Lowry (Monsanto) and Tam Nguyen (Bechtel).