UN and British Government launch business push for MDGs
A dozen international companies announced concrete initiatives to apply business expertise to tackle poverty at an event hosted in London today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the British Government.
More than 80 business leaders attended the Business Call to Action event, aimed at showcasing innovative and creative initiatives from the private sector to tackle poverty in the developing world.
New business initiatives announced by Diageo, Vodaphone, Coca Cola, Sumitomo Chemical, Microsoft, SABMiller, Thomson Reuters, Citi and Cisco are expected to create thousands of jobs and potentially improve the lives of millions of poor people across Africa and Asia.
They are part of a concerted push to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were endorsed by 189 world leaders in 2000 and represent a global partnership to promote poverty reduction, education, maternal health and gender equality and to combat child mortality, AIDS and other diseases.
The Business Call to Action aims to enable poor people to access speedy flows of information, money and business expertise, as well as creating new employment opportunities.
“In the race to achieve the MDGs, one of the greatest untapped resources is the private sector,” UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis said. “Innovative business leaders, both in the North and the South, are changing the way that many businesses operate. They are expanding beyond traditional business practices, to also focus on the needs of those locked out of the global market, bringing them in as partners in growth and wealth creation.
“Such creative approaches and partnerships are essential in catalyzing vibrant new markets that can contribute to advancing inclusive growth and development.”