Wall Street’s Stake in the UN – The role of the Private Sector in financing Sustainable Development

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015, calls for countries to improve the planet and people’s lives, wipe out extreme poverty, fight inequality and combat climate change by achieving 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Achieving the ambitious targets of the 2030 Agenda requires a revitalized and enhanced global partnership that brings together Governments, civil society, the private sector, the United Nations system and other actors and mobilizes all available resources. Enhancing support to developing countries, in particular the least developed countries, is fundamental to equitable progress for all.

On May 23, 2017 the European Union Delegation of the United Nations and the European American Chamber of Commerce hosted an event at UN Headquarters on the margins of ECOSOC’s Financing for Development (FFD) Follow-up Forum, it brought together Wall Street and corporate leaders, international banks, private equity funds, investors, private foundations representatives and Delegates accredited to the United Nations to consider the fundamental role of the private sector in advancing the sustainable development agenda and discuss ways to mobilize the global business community in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The case is clear. Realizing the Sustainable Development Goals will improve the environment for doing business and building markets. Trillions of US dollars in public and private funds are to be redirected towards the SDGs, creating tremendous opportunities for responsive companies to deliver solutions. Partnerships between the key stakeholders are essential and, as spelled out in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, a broader and more varied set of financial resources needs to be mobilized in addition to public resources (domestic and international) to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

the program started with a opening and scene setter about the Strategic Partnership EU/UN By European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, with horizontal responsibility for Sustainable Development and United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed

Followed by two panels discussing what can be done to better align private sector activities with Sustainable Development objectives and how the private sector can be incentivized to mobilize long-term resources for sustainable development.

Other participants included
• Filippo Bettini, Chief Sustainability & Risk Governance Officer, Pirelli Tires
• Jacqueline Corbelli,
Founder, Brightline
• Hervé P. Duteil, Managing Director, Regional Coordinator for Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainable Finance in the Americas, BNP PARIBAS
• Philip De Leon,
Director, Public Affairs & Int’l Business Development, AGCO Corporation
• Brandee McHale,
President, CITI Foundation and Director of Corporate Citizenship, CITI
• Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, UN Relations & Partnerships, World Bank Group
• Carlota Cenalmor,
Senior Institutional Adviser, Deputy Head of US Representative Office, European Investment Bank [EIB]
• Georgia Levenson Keohane, Executive Director, Pershing Square Foundation
• Adrienne Zitka, Senior Legal Counsel, DSM North America

The dialog was moderated by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University.