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UN chief: Private finance essential for global goals

By Wang Linyan at the United Nations | | Updated: 2017-09-19 09:42

UN chief: Private finance essential for global goals

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres is seen on a screen as he speaks during the Financing the 2030 Agenda, 'The Role of the United Nations' at the UN Headquarters in New York, Sept 18, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

The business community has a critical role to play in innovating new financial models to achieve sustainable development goals (SDG), UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday.

"This is now an objective that can only work if the whole of society engages. The role of the business community, the private sector, the financial sector is absolutely crucial," said Guterres in his opening remarks at the 9th annual UN Private Sector Forum during the 72nd UN General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York.

"Finance can make or break all our carefully laid plans. We have a blueprint for peace, prosperity and dignity for a healthy planet in the 2030 Agenda; and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are our roadmap for inclusive, sustainable and fair globalization," he said.

The UN chief said his strategy will focus on three key areas: making the 2030 Agenda more firmly embedded into international economic and financial policy making; working harder to support countries in brokering partnerships for innovative finance; and championing international initiatives that can harness finance for critical areas.

"The world has the resources to deliver the 2030 Agenda," he said. "Let us organize ourselves and liberate them and deliver them to where they are needed most."

More than 300 chief executives, government leaders and UN and civil society leaders attended the forum that was titled Financing the 2030 Agenda: Unlocking Prosperity. It included a program which identified solutions that all sectors should take to drive capital towards achieving the UN’s SDGs.

Guterres said a finance summit will be planned in New York for next September to build upon these efforts.

In her keynote speech, Swiss President Doris Leuthard highlighted the key role the global finance community plays in achieving the SDGs.

"We know the money is here. We have to really redirect financial flows into green and resource-efficient investments that promise good financial performance and social dividends," Leuthard said.

In Switzerland, she said, investments seeking social impact in developing countries were estimated at nearly $10 billion in 2015 and were managed by companies based in Switzerland.

With increased climate-related humanitarian crises and recovery needs due to recent events, finance is a particularly timely issue in relation to the global fight against climate change.

Former US vice-president Al Gore urged business leaders to take action to support climate change adaptation, resilience, mitigation and recovery.

"We are seeing tremendous progress, but we must make faster progress," Gore said.

"I hope that the correct way to interpret the recent news reports is that the United States will lower its ambitions stated in Paris, but remain in the Paris Agreement," Gore said. "For those that doubt that we can succeed in this challenge, always remember that political will is itself a renewable resource."

UN Global Compact CEO Lise Kingo called for greater business and UN collaboration.

"Mobilizing public and private finance will be essential if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals," Kingo said.

The UN Private Sector Forum this year was hosted by Secretary-General Guterres and organized by the UN Global Compact in collaboration with other organizing partners.

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