The United Nations’ Post-2015 Development Agenda is expected to reframe the global conversation around economic and social development – and by extension corporate responsibility – for the next 15 years, applying to all UN member states and potentially touching upon almost every aspect of human existence.
In the run-up to the agenda and the specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will be finalized by the UN this September, USCIB has played a leading role in making the SDG negotiations accessible to business and showcasing business contributions to sustainable development through the lens of the SDGs in its advocacy with UN Member States.
As part of its efforts to showcase the private sector’s role in the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, USCIB represented business at a day-long event of high-level policy discussions at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. about “Governance Innovations to implement the Post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” The conference is an opportunity to revisit the concepts on multi-stakeholder governance introduced by the Helsinki Process on Globalization and Democracy, which formally concluded in 2008.
Ariel Meyerstein, USCIB’s vice president for labor affairs, corporate responsibility and corporate governance, was a featured speaker on a panel on “National Consultation Processes for Multi-stakeholder Engagement and National Accountability.” The panel addressed how to engage domestic stakeholders to adapt the SDGs to national contexts and to develop national strategies for implementing the SDGs, as well as how to make national data accessible for domestic accountability and to create space for civic engagement to support the goals’ implementation.
Meyerstein noted that a significant accomplishment of the SDG process thus far was the level of buy-in they have generated in contrast to the UN’s earlier Millennium Development Goals, which were not adopted through a similarly broad consultative process with all Member States or the private sector. What remains to be achieved, he said, is “how to put nationally-based governance frameworks in place that will encourage multi-stakeholder partnerships to help drive implementation and true national ownership and collaboration in achieving the SDGs.”
Other panelists included Nancy Lee (Millennium Challenge Corporation), Robert Orr (Dean of the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland) and Paul O’Brien (Oxfam).
From March 23 to 27, the UN began a round of SDG negotiations on goals and targets, including discussions on indicators and metrics. As the UN works to finalize the goals by September 2015, USCIB will continue to advocate for business to be consulted and relied upon as a partner in planning and implementing sustainable development strategies both globally and on the national level.