Business Works to Strengthen Engagement in UN Climate Process

L-R: Norine Kennedy (USCIB), Amb. Robert Van Lierop (St. Kitts & Nevis, Russell Mills (Dow Chemical), Griffin Thompson (State Department), Amb. Jorge Voto Bernales (Peru), USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson
L-R: Norine Kennedy (USCIB), Amb. Robert Van Lierop (St. Kitts & Nevis, Russell Mills (Dow Chemical), Griffin Thompson (State Department), Amb. Jorge Voto Bernales (Peru), USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson

Warsaw, November 22, 2013 – At the 19th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change scheduled to conclude today, the business community has moved forward with efforts to engage more effectively in the international climate process, according to the United States Council for International Business (USCIB).

Earlier this week, the Major Economies Business Forum (BizMEF), a coalition of 20 cross-sectoral business groups from six continents, including USCIB, hosted the Warsaw Business Dialogue, working in partnership with the main Polish business federation and the Polish government’s presidency of COP-19.

The event brought together 50 high-level representatives from Poland and other national delegations, business leaders, the UNFCCC secretariat and other relevant organizations to discuss ways in which business can contribute more effectively to the UN process.

“Business supports development of an ambitious, inclusive post-2020 global climate agreement,” according to Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s vice president of environment and energy. “To achieve truly ambitious goals, negotiators must develop an agreement that harnesses private-sector R&D and investment to deliver climate-friendly technologies and solutions. Working together with governments, we can strengthen the practicality and economic viability of an agreement, supported by trade, investment and innovation.”

UN negotiators are aiming to advance work toward a post-2020 climate agreement at COP-20 next year in Lima, Peru. A final agreement is expected to be signed at COP-21 in Paris in 2015.

The Warsaw dialogue builds on the successful Doha Business Dialogue at COP-18 last year, and previous events at recent UN climate meetings in South Africa and Mexico. Under the theme of “Leverage Business Actions in Technology and Investment,” participants considered ways that international climate policy could best benefit from business efforts to develop and deploy advanced technologies.

The business dialogues are part of a larger effort by BizMEF to establish a recognized channel for business to contribute its expertise and practical experience to the UN climate talks. “Currently, business has no formal role in the UNFCCC, we are simply observers,” said Brian Flannery, a BizMEF spokesperson.

“While we welcome that opportunity, both business and governments could benefit from a recognized channel to provide expert input and participation,” Flannery said. “Such channels work effectively in many other international forums, including the International Labor Organization and the OECD. Both business and governments benefit from more informed participation.”

In his closing remarks to participants at the Warsaw dialogue, Ambassador Jorge Voto Bernales of Peru stated: “We in Peru will work with you in the business community and with the Polish presidency to promote creation of better channels for interactions with business going forward to COP-20 in Lima.”

Voto Bernales further suggested that BizMEF “consider opportunities to engage more closely with regional business groups and governments, in particular in the Latin American region, and with small and medium-sized enterprise as well as large multinational companies, to identify fruitful areas and explore them in more depth. For our part, the COP presidencies could assist in facilitating such interactions, perhaps through a regional workshop based on development of a shared agenda and participation.”

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, speaking on behalf of BiizMEF, welcomed the Peruvian ambassador’s remarks and accepted the offer. “The work of the Business Major Economies Forum has been a valuable step to enhance mutual understanding of business and governments concerning the international climate process, as demonstrated here in Warsaw,” he added.

About BizMEF:
The Major Economies Business Forum on Energy Security and Climate Change (BizMEF) is a partnership of leading multi-sectoral business organizations from major economies. Modeled after the government-to-government Major Economies Forum, BizMEF is a platform for these groups to promote dialogue, highlight areas of agreement among participating organizations on the most important issues for business in international climate change policy forums; and share these views with governments, international bodies, other business organizations, the press and the public. Organizations that have participated in BizMEF meetings represent business groups in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Collectively, BizMEF organizations represent more than 25 million businesses of every size and sector. More information is available at www.bizmef.org.

About USCIB:
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world. With a unique global network encompassing leading international business organizations, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.

Contact:
Jonathan Huneke, VP communications, USCIB
(212) 703-5043 or jhuneke@uscib.org

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Staff Contact:   Kira Yevtukhova

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Kira Yevtukhova manages USCIB’s print and online publications, including the website, e-newsletter and quarterly magazine, and serves as the organization’s digital media strategist. Prior to this role, Kira worked for over five years within USCIB’s Policy Department, focusing on climate change, environment, nutrition, health, and chemicals related policy issues. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and is currently pursuing an MBA at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business.
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