Corporate giving can play an important role in advancing the global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Deputy Secretary-General told more than 200 top executives and business leaders at a special event of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) today.
“Enhanced cooperation between the different actors represented here today, especially through a better understanding of corporate giving strategies, would add great value to the overall development effort,” Asha-Rose Migiro told the gathering of leaders from such companies as Merrill Lynch, Microsoft, and Goldman Sachs & Co.
The event was co-organized by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the UN Office for Partnerships (UNOP) and the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) – a global forum bringing together corporate leaders who think about philanthropy as part of their business model.
Pointing to the emergence and rapid growth in recent years of corporate and individual giving, she said that the UN “welcomes this trend as a wonderful embodiment of the universal human values of justice, fairness, compassion and equality.
“We see philanthropy’s immense potential to help people as they strive for a better life with dignity and hope,” she added. “We need to better understand it, and help direct its benefits effectively and efficiently.”
In recent years, the Organization has been opening its doors to more partners, and more innovative partnerships, she noted, adding that “every UN agency, fund and programme is rethinking the way we work in light of this effort.”
This “new age of partnership” is crucial in addressing global challenges such as climate change – one of the UN’s top priorities. “Many of you have a leading role to play in this, not only as corporate philanthropists but also as senior managers of large corporations whose decisions crucially affect consumption and production patterns,” she noted.
It will not be possible to successfully address such pressing issues without cooperation between Member States and the world’s leading private sector representatives, the Deputy Secretary-General added.
Echoing her comments, ECOSOC President Léo Mérorès said that governments cannot achieve internationally agreed development goals on their own, adding that “the active involvement of all parts of society is critical if we are to succeed.”
He added that today’s meeting can provide valuable inputs to ECOSOC’s first Development Cooperation Forum, to be held in New York in July, as well as the annual ministerial review of progress towards development goals.