USCIB met with European Union Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella on July 7 in New York for a productive discussion about the private sector’s role in the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda. Commissioner Vella addressed the need for business and government to work together on creating jobs, growth and investment for sustainable development, as well as the importance of integrating economic growth and environmental protection.
USCIB staff including Norine Kennedy, vice president for strategic international engagement, energy and the environment; and Ariel Meyerstein, vice president for labor affairs, corporate responsibility and corporate governance, as well as USCIB member Doug Nelson (Croplife) met with Commissioner Vella at the offices of the EU Delegation to the United States ahead of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Ethiopia this week.
Noting that the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda provides an opportunity to affect global change for the better, Commissioner Vella explained that he viewed the private sector as the solution to governments’ wishes for jobs, growth and investment. He expressed support for private sector involvement in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and he said that governments and businesses of all sizes must work together to protect the environment and forge a path toward sustainable development.
USCIB staff agreed with Commissioner Vella’s comments, and noted that the private sector should have more of a voice in the UN process.
“Private sector engagement should be proportional to what we’re being asked to contribute,” said Meyerstein.
Meeting attendees also discussed the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), with Nelson explaining that the EU’s adoption of the Aarhus Convention – which grants public rights regarding access to information on environmental matters – would force companies to give away confidential business information, which would hurt American investment in the EU. Commissioner Vella said he supported TTIP as it would facilitate business between both sides of the Atlantic, including a common set of inspection criteria.
Additionally, Kennedy participated in a panel with Commissioner Vella later that afternoon on “Involving civil society in the implementation of the post-2015 agenda.” The event was organized by the European Economic and Social Committee, the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations and the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs.
USCIB thanks Commissioner Vella for his welcoming attitude towards the private sector and looks forward to future discussions about public-private collaboration on sustainable development.
USCIB has also created an online platform that showcases the private sector’s continuing contributions to sustainable development, and demonstrates the need for a role for business in the UN’s Post-2015 Development Agenda. Visit businessforpost-2015.org to learn more.