The business community and the United Nations must rediscover their sense of shared purpose and “reconnect in building a world where international peace and prosperity reinforce each other,” according to UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson.
Eliasson spoke at last night’s USCIB’s International Leadership Award Dinner. His remarks came as USCIB and its allied business groups seek to provide business input into the development of the UN’s post-2015 development agenda, which aims to expand upon the Millennium Development Goals agreed in 2000.
The gala dinner, held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, honored Fred Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx Corp., who received USCIB’s top award before an audience of several hundred USCIB members, diplomats and business representatives from around the world.
“There is more than just an overlap between United Nations development goals and private sector interests,” Eliasson stated. “We share common ground. If we can get, during the next two years, an acceleration of reaching these goals, then we will create the political momentum to move ahead and address sustainability, poverty and the rule of law.”
USCIB Chairman Terry McGraw (president, chairman and CEO of McGraw Hill Financial) urged business and the UN to work together to map out an ambitious – and achievable – post-2015 development agenda. “This represents a historic opportunity to forge a global consensus in support of public-private activities to lead growth and create a more robust, inclusive world economy,” he said.
McGraw said business will seek to promote several fundamental objectives in the context of the post-2015 agenda. These include setting goals that are achievable in every country, putting a focus on improving national governance, implementing sound macro-economic and fiscal policies, establishing effective national institutions, and providing adequate incentives for business to contribute.
Well deserved accolades for FedEx’s Smith
FedEx’s Smith accepted USCIB’s International Leadership Award on behalf of his company’s employees around the world. “Let me commend USCIB for the important work you are doing,” he said. “I think all of us in this room believe in the power of access, of connecting people, of ideas. Improving people’s lives through global growth has been an important and valuable mission. We are shoulder-to-shoulder with you in this important work.”
Smith is the 32nd individual to receive the USCIB award, which was presented most recently to Andrew Liveris of Dow Chemical. The award recognizes efforts to expand world trade and investment, and to improve the competitive environment for American business globally.
Smith founded FedEx Corp. in 1973, and it has grown into a $44-billion global transportation, business services and logistics company. McGraw praised him for his vision and leadership. “Fred Smith has been an active proponent of regulatory reform, free trade and open skies agreements for aviation around the world,” said McGraw. “Most recently, he has advocated for vehicle energy-efficiency standards and a national energy policy. FedEx is consistently ranked among the world’s most admired and trusted employers and inspires its employees to remain absolutely, positively focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities.”
USCIB’s global network turns out
Among those attending this year’s event were members of the executive board of the International Chamber of Commerce, the world business organization for which USCIB serves as the American national committee, as well as the heads of ICC chapters from around the world. The secretaries general of each of USCIB’s affiliated global business groups – ICC, the International Organization of Employers, and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD – also attended the gala.
The dinner marked a starting point for a series of events organized by USCIB, ICC and other business-related groups to focus industry attention on the development of the UN’s post-2015 development agenda. Among the highlights will be USCIB-organized “door-knock” consultations on October 26 for USCIB members with key government delegations and the UN secretariat.
That same day, USCIB will convene a Green Economies Dialogue luncheon roundtable on economic and green growth considerations of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Speakers at the roundtable will include representatives from academia, important governments and the UN to consider policy options that work within the global marketplace.
Staff contact: Jonathan Huneke