United Nations High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development

United Nations High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development

September 26, 2019

New York, NY

The UN General Assembly will hold a high-level dialogue on financing for development (FfD) on September 26, 2019, the day after the meeting of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) under UNGA auspices. T

his date has been updated from September 23, per a letter circulated by the UNGA President on November 27, 2018.

The FfD meeting is mandated in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (para 132), which calls for it to convene back-to-back with the HLPF’s UNGA-level meeting every four years.

This meeting will also take place at the beginning of the UNGA session.

Coca-Cola Engaging Business Forum

Engaging Business Forum

This year’s Engaging Business forum will be held on September 12-13 in Atlanta at Coca-Cola’s headquarters (1 Coca Cola Plz NW Atlanta, GA 30313)

UN Partnership Forum Underscores Improving Relationship with Business

Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Amina J. Mohamed opened the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Partnership Forum with a reminder to Forum participants that “we are all development actors.” The 2019 Forum, held at the UN headquarters in New York, convened representatives from governments, across the UN system, NGOs and business to share experiences on how to design and promote successful effective partnerships and how partnerships can advance the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its 17 SDGs.

Ann Cairns, vice chairman of Mastercard, highlighted the necessity of enabling frameworks for partnerships, stating that the challenge is to “build out an ecosystem that works, country by country, for partnerships, and people have to be able to use that system.”

Three main sessions considered:

  • How to build effective country level partnership platforms
  • Multi-stakeholder partnership as a lever for inclusion and impact
  • Raising ambition for UN associated-partnerships

Norine Kennedy, who leads USCIB work on strategic international engagement, energy and environment, spoke on behalf of the International Organization of Employers (IOE), to draw attention to the importance of pursuing open, transparent and inclusive business involvement in informing and advancing UN outcomes and initiatives.

“In light of the substantial challenges ahead in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we should open the doors wide to partnership with the private sector,” stated Kennedy.

The Partnership Forum is part of the annual round of UN 2030 Agenda related meetings leading up to the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF). While the HLPF holds deliberations on clusters of SDGs year by year, SDG 17 on partnerships is reviewed every year. Framed as a goal to “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development,” SDG17 is being re-interpreted to emphasize partnerships with the full variety of non-governmental actors, including the private sector.

USCIB Meets With UN High Commissioner on Human Rights

L-R: Michelle Bachelet Jeria (UN); Gabriella Rigg Herzog (USCIB); Peter Robinson (USCIB)

USCIB was honored to host the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Chile Michelle Bachelet Jeria during the annual spring meeting of USCIB’s Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee on April 11 in Washington, DC.

USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog welcomed the High Commissioner and emphasized the U.S. business community’s firm commitment to respecting human rights across the world in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). The UNGP serves as the global framework for governments, business and civil society regarding business and human rights.

The High Commissioner reflected on her experience to date as the global ambassador for human rights and stressed the need for all stakeholders – business, governments and civil society – to play an active and constructive role in advancing human rights around the world.

L-R: Roberto Suarez (IOE); Mthunzi Mdwaba (ILO); Michelle Bachelet Jeria (UN); Peter Robinson (USCIB); Gabriella Rigg Herzog (USCIB)

“Many USCIB corporate member’s individual and collective efforts to implement the UNGPs are underway,” said Herzog during her welcoming remarks. “USCIB and many of its members plan to highlight these actions and progress at the 8th UN Annual Forum on Business & Human Rights in Geneva this November. We have actively participated in the UN Annual Forum every year since its inception in 2012 and are pleased that for the first time this important meeting will center on the fundamental role that governments must play in carrying out their duty to pass laws that meet international human rights standards, and then effectively enforcing those laws within their own jurisdictions.”

United Nations General Assembly Commemorates ILO Centennial

L-R: Secretary General of IOE Roberto Suarez; IOE Vice-President to the ILO
Mthunzi Mdwaba; President of the International Organization of Employers Erol Kiresepi; USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson

As the International Labor Organization celebrates its one-hundredth anniversary this year, the United Nations commemorated this milestone at the UN General Assembly on April 10 under the theme “The Future of Work.” The commemorative plenary was attended by heads of state, ministers, heads of delegations from permanent missions to the UN, and representatives from the private sector, including USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. 

Opening statements were made by President of the 73rd Session of the General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, Secretary General of the UN António Guterres, Director General of the International Labor Organization Guy Ryder, President of the International Organization of Employers (IOE) Erol Kiresepi, and others.

As IOE Vice President for North America, Robinson also took part in a luncheon, co-hosted by Espinosa Garcés and Ryder, to discuss progress, good practices, and lessons learned toward achieving the eight Sustainable Development Goal (decent work and economic growth). The luncheon provided an opportunity for participants to take stock of the progress in the implementation of sustainable development objectives in the area of promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. According to Robinson, the luncheon provided a terrific opportunity to support the ILO as an example of inclusive multilateralism embodied in its tripartite structure.

“We at USCIB are proud to celebrate the ILO’s centennial, alongside our partners in the Department of Labor, the AFL-CIO and the International Organization of Employers’ worldwide membership,” said Robinson.

USCIB Joins US Labor Department in Celebrating ILO’s 100 Years

L-R: Ed Potter (USCIB); Cathy Feingold (AFL-CIO); Guy Ryder (ILO)

Ed Potter, who serves as Counsel for USCIB, took part in a high-profile discussion on April 12 hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The discussion was part of a broader set of meetings in 2019 celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the International Labor Organization (ILO). The event last week, entitled “Shaping the World of Work: U.S. Engagement with the ILO,” focused on the instrumental role of U.S. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins in leading the United States to join its first multilateral institution in 1934 – the ILO. 

The event also featured U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, Director-General of the ILO Guy Ryder, Director of the International Department of the AFL-CIO Cathy Feingold, and author of “The Woman Behind the New Deal,” Kristin Downey. 

Reflecting on the role the ILO plays in the world, Secretary Acosta noted in particular the ILO’s standard setting role and its work to highlight and address unacceptable child and forced labor practices in a number of countries around the world. Such poor labor practices also unfairly disadvantage U.S. businesses that prioritize doing business the right way with appropriate labor practices. On this point, Secretary Acosta stated, “free trade needs to include fair trade, and that means certain levels of labor standards that are enforced across the board, maintained, and that really should be prerequisites.”

Panelists reflected not only on the ILO’s history and achievements, but also looked ahead towards the ILO’s next hundred years and the role the ILO can play in addressing future priorities. Reflecting on the ILO’s unique governance structure in which governments, employers and workers all must come together for consensus decision-making, Potter stressed, “You can not underestimate the strength of the tripartite system that holds the ship together.” In terms of key milestones from a U.S. employer’s perspective, Potter cited the ILO’s 1944 Declaration of Philadelphia and the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work as formative frameworks which are all the more relevant today – especially as the ILO looks towards its next century. 

This upcoming June, some 6,000 ILO tripartite constituents will come together again at the ILO International Labor Conference to negotiate, among other items, a new ILO declaration focusing in broad strokes on its next 100 years.

“USCIB will participate actively again, representing U.S. employers, constructively engaging, and playing a key role in these critical deliberations to steer the ILO “ship” towards the next century,” said Gabriella Rigg Herzog, who leads USCIB’s work on labor policy.

See below for the panel discussion:

At OECD Event, Business Encourages Girls to Dream Big

L-R: Ronnie Goldberg (USCIB), Anna Blue (Girl Up), Rebecca Campbell (Disney), Irena Sodin (Slovenian mission to the OECD), Monika Queisser (OECD). Click on the image to view a video recap.

On April 9, at OECD headquarters in Paris, Business at OECD (BIAC) organized a conversation with The Walt Disney Company and leading advocates for diversity in the workplace on the importance of gender inclusion within the creative sector.

Rebecca Campbell, president of Disney’s Europe, Middle East and Africa operations, presented on the company’s efforts to re-imagine gender narratives through its storytelling and “Dream Big, Princess” initiative. Since 2017, Disney has collaborated on this initiative with Girl Up, the United Nations Foundation’s program to support leadership development of adolescent girls around the globe. Campbell said that some 40 percent of the directors of its upcoming film releases were women, and it was committed to bringing that number to parity with men − despite an industry-wide average of less than 5 percent for top-grossing films over the past ten years.

A panel discussion, moderated by USCIB Senior Counsel Ronnie Goldberg, highlighted progress, challenges and opportunities for stakeholders to harness creativity and innovation for the advancement of gender inclusion. Panelists included Anna Blue, co-executive director of Girl Up; Disney’s Campbell; Irena Sodin, Slovenia’s ambassador to the OECD; and Monika Queisser, senior counselor at the OECD’s Employment, Labor and Social Affairs Directorate.

The event featured robust Q&A from an audience that included daughters of many OECD employees. Other speakers included BIAC Secretary General Russel Mills; Andrew Haviland, charge d’affaires at the U.S. Mission to the OECD; and Virginie Delalande, a coach and speaker and the first deaf person to become a practicing lawyer in France.

Following the discussion, participants enjoyed a cocktail reception and tour of Disney’s Dream Big, Princess exhibition, featuring inspirational photography and video content of real-life women and girls across the globe dreaming big.

Click here to view a short video recap of the event.

USCIB Helps Promote New Center for Human Rights and Sport

USCIB President and CEO Peter M Robinson

USCIB teamed up with the Institute for Human Rights and Business on April 9 to organize a full-day workshop to highlight the recently launched Center for Human Rights and Sport. The event raised awareness to U.S. companies of the role of the new center, the connection between sports and human rights, and ways companies can engage.

Over fifty participants contributed to the dialogue over the course of the day, as well as representatives from the U.S. Department of State, former Olympic athletes, and other stakeholders.

“Business has a key interests on the issue of sports and human rights,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson in his opening remarks. “Through sponsorship, through the building of infrastructure, through the production of equipment and by providing services, just to name a few, business is linked to the world of sports and sport events. As part of its responsibility under the UN Guiding Principles, business needs and wants to identify and mitigate possible adverse human rights impact. However, the challenges that companies face in the area of sports and human rights often are systemic issues to which systemic responses are required.”

USCIB members from Nike, Hilton and Bechtel served as panelists during sector-specific sessions on leveraging relationships and partnerships across supply chains to ensure accountability and compliance with human rights and labor standards.

In addition to partnerships, Bechtel’s Global Head of Sustainability and Vice Chair of USCIB’s Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee Tam Nguyen noted the benefits of using data analytics, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to create predictions about forced labor and human rights violations and provided an example of an application of these new technologies in the construction sector.

The Center’s first CEO Mary Harvey outlined main takeaways in her wrap-up remarks, which included the challenge in re-examining what leverage means for companies, the power and potential of accountability and collective action, and appropriate and effective mechanisms for grievance and remedy in sport.

USCIB will continue to follow this topic closely. At the next USCIB-IOE-Coca-Cola Conference scheduled for September 12-13 in Atlanta, there will be a panel dedicated to this crucial topic. At the end of the year, USCIB will participate in the ILO’s Global Dialogue Forum on Sports and Decent Work.

Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the Center for Sport and Human Rights brings together a diverse set of stakeholders to work towards a world of sport that fully respects human rights by sharing knowledge, building capacity, and strengthening the accountability of all actors through collective action and promotion of the Sporting Chance Principles. In fulfilling this mandate, the Center is committed to being independent, principles-based, inclusive, diverse, collaborative, accessible and trusted.

Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Spring Committee Meeting

When: April 10-11th

Where: White&Case DC Office (701 13th St NW # 600, Washington, DC 20005)

Speakers:

  • The Honorable Michelle Bachelet Jeria, United Nations, High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Martha Newton, Deputy Undersecretary, International Labor Affairs Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor (TBC)
  • Bob Shepherd, Director, Office of International relations, International Labor Affairs Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor
  • Joan Barrett, Chief, Multilateral and Global Affairs, International Labor Affairs Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor
  • Caroline Reese, President, and Co-Founder, Shift

Topics: 

  • Managing International Labor & Business & Human Rights standards
  • Handling Evolving Non-Financial Reporting and Disclosure
  • Labor and NGO Engagement Strategy
  • Business & Human Rights Policy & Strategy Discussion
  • 2019 International Labor Conference Overview

Please send your RSVP to Kendall Thibeadeau at kthibeadeau@uscib.org

USCIB Briefs Members on New Business and Society Initiatives 

L-R: Tom Woods (Wilton Park Foundation) and Mike Michener (USCIB)

USCIB held a special briefing on April 8 in Washington, DC with leading members, USCIB staff and the U.S. Department of State focusing on how USCIB is responding to challenges in the multilateral system around business and society.

Over thirty participants attended the briefing, hosted by USCIB member Beveridge and Diamond, including Director of the Office of Economic and Development Affairs from the U.S. Department of State Margy Bond, President of Woods International and Chairman of the Wilton Park USA Foundation Tom Woods and USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. USCIB members in attendance included representatives from AT&T, Bayer, Cargill, Chevron, DHL Express, KPMG, McDonald’s and PepsiCo, among others.

Bond, who gave a keynote address, noted that USCIB members have been a driving force for constructive business engagement at the United Nations and emphasized that the U.S. government is focused on enhancing private sector involvement at and partnerships with the UN, which will not only help achieve global goals but also help promote growth and create jobs in the United States.

However, as business is expected to step up and provide the investment, innovation and capacity to scale solutions that can solve the world’s largest problems, USCIB members find themselves increasingly in the cross-hairs as anti-business sentiment continues to find traction among policymakers, NGOs and UN entities around the world.

“Our overriding concern is to promote trust and partnership between governments, international organizations and the private sector,” said Robinson. “All too often in recent years, we have seen the public and private sectors set against each other in international forums. We need to move beyond this, so that we can, together, tackle important global challenges like climate change, public health and nutrition, human rights and many others.”

With regards to trust, another value add to this meeting was an overview of the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer by Edelman Intelligence Managing Director  Kari Butcher. Butcher gave insight into the findings of this year’s report and how business can use the data in the report to move forward on solving today’s societal challenges.

Participants had the opportunity to discuss and learn about three new initiatives launched by the USCIB Foundation to respond to these challenges, as well as opportunities for greater engagement through USCIB. These new initiatives are designed to strengthen the pivotal role business plays in furtherance of the 2030 Agenda with regards to nutrition-related SDGs, inclusive engagement of business in key UN forums, and the private sector’s role as a trusted partner in meeting the challenges facing society.

Norine Kennedy, who leads USCIB’s international strategic engagement and USCIB’s All in Campaign emphasized that, “the private sector brings value to the United Nations system. Its success is our success.”

The initiatives that were presented to members include:

  • Together for Nutrition Principles– a joint project between The USCIB Foundation, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and the Wilton Park Foundation defining a set of principles for public-private sector engagement to advance the nutrition-related SDGs.
  • All In Campaign– an initiative bringing policymakers and global businesses together in key UN cities to begin a global conversation on opportunities for inclusive engagement with businesses from all industry sectors as essential to meeting the SDG goals and other 2015 outcomes.
  • Business in Society: A Crisis of Trust – a USCIB Foundation project that aims to better understand and influence attitudes and behaviors among policymakers through data, analysis and education to demonstrate that business can be profitable and still be trusted partners in meeting societal challenges.

Moving forward, all of the above will be highlighted in USCIB’s 2nd Annual Geneva Week May 6-10, the first All In Campaign Roundtable scheduled to take place in Geneva during Geneva Week, a planned event on the impact of business SDG partnerships on the margins of the High Level Political Forum in July in New York, as well as additional planned All In Campaign roundtables in cities around the world.  USCIB encourages members to participate and welcomes feedback.