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Corporate Governance

UN Secretary-General and Global CEOs Accelerate Shift to Sustainable Finance

Toby Usnik

18 Sep 2017

UN Secretary-General António Guterres: US$3-5 trillion annual investment needed to finance the 2030 Agenda; private finance and investment absolutely essential to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); Finance Summit in New York announced for September 2018

(New York, 18 September 2017) — Adopting a new principle-based approach to global finance that mobilizes massive new investments to achieve the Global Goals was the topic of discussion today at the 9th annual United Nations Private Sector Forum during the 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly. Convening more than 300 Chief Executives, Heads of State and Government, UN and civil society leaders, the Forum focused on the theme of Financing the 2030 Agenda: Unlocking Prosperity, with a programme that identified a broad range of solutions that all sectors must take to drive capital towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In his opening remarks, UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasized the critical role of business to innovate new financial models.  He stated: “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. Without your leadership, our project will simply fail. 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.”

“My 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. Let us organize ourselves and liberate them and deliver them to where they are needed most,” added Secretary-General Guterres.

To build upon these efforts, the Secretary-General announced plans to host a multi-stakeholder Finance Summit in New York next September.

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. Underscoring the need for innovative finance models to support climate change adaptation, resilience, mitigation and recovery, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore called upon business leaders to take action. In a special opening message, Gore said:

“We are seeing tremendous progress, but we must make faster progress. 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. 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 & Executive Director Lise Kingo urged greater business and UN collaboration, stating: “Mobilizing public and private finance will be essential if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We will need mainstream finance — including public and corporate pension funds, investment managers, banks, and insurers — to help push the boundaries of financial innovation to unlock and direct investment towards the Global Goals.”


Mr. Toby Usnik, Head of Communications:

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