I am delighted and honoured for the opportunity to address the UN Private Sector Forum.
First, I would like to say congratulations and welcome to the new CEO and Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact - Sandra Ojiambo.
We meet against the backdrop of the 75th anniversary of the UN, the 20th anniversary of the Global Compact, and the 5th anniversary of the sustainable development goals. And while we have accomplished much we are painfully aware of the long path ahead, as we start to recover better and stronger from COVID-19.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact is the roadmap for governments and businesses alike through this crisis and towards the future we want.
But getting through this crisis and back on the path towards the SDGs will require cooperation and sustained commitment, also from the private sector.
Because the task is formidable.
We must reduce carbon emissions.
We must secure healthy and sustainable food production.
We must ensure high environmental standards in industry, transport and trade.
We must strive to create jobs and enable sustainable economic growth across the world.
But first and foremost, we must get through the current health crisis.
This is a global challenge that requires a global solution. And the best way to win this battle is through the development and distribution of a vaccine.
In this endeavour, collaboration with the private sector is absolutely essential.
The major economies, the market shapers, the pharmaceutical industry and the multilateral organisations must all work together towards this goal.
I urge the private sector to continue to contribute resources, expertise and innovation to these efforts. It is in our common interest to get our economies back on track as quickly as possible.
However, getting through this crisis will not be enough.
To achieve the ambitions set out in the SDGs, we need healthy and sustainable oceans to provide more food, more energy and more jobs.
Two years ago, I convened the High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, together with the president of Palau.
In December, we will present recommendations on how we can protect our oceans and at the same time release the great economic potential they hold.
A recent Panel-commissioned analysis on the ocean economy and COVID-19, shows that the oceans have the potential to address some of our most critical challenges. Such as mitigating climate change, delivering economic recovery and feeding the world.
Input from the business sector is vital. We need help to come up with innovative solutions and new business opportunities. And to trigger and implement the action needed to achieve ocean sustainability and blue growth. The work of the UN Global Compact Action Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business is important in this context.
The COVID 19 pandemic has thrown the world into uncharted territory. With grave consequences for public health and the state of our economies.
But this is also an opportunity to build back better and greener.
Realising this ambition will require sustained and active engagement from businesses across all sectors and regions. Businesses must choose to be part of the solution. By adhering to the principle of “do no harm”. By promoting decent work and equal opportunities. By applying sustainability principles to both core business and supply chains. By paying taxes and following international standards and guidelines.
But more than this, to reach our goals we need to harness the capacities of the business sector. We need new technologies and your ability to innovate and adapt. I encourage you to seize the business opportunities that lie in the sustainable development goals. By doing so, business becomes an indispensable part of the solution
Knowing that you will continue to support global cooperation and be a force to be reckoned with in our common endeavour to build back better, gives me hope.