Businesses have key role in restoring confidence in financial markets – Ban

15 December 2008

The private sector, as well as the alliance of businesses created by the United Nations in 2000, has an important role in helping to bring the global economy back on track, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, noting that what began as a financial crisis just a few months ago has turned into a full-scale economic downturn affecting economies and societies worldwide.

“There is no doubt that the current crisis poses a serious threat to our collective well-being,” Mr. Ban told a meeting of the Global Compact Board in New York. “It will require a concerted effort by Governments, international organizations and the private sector to prevent a lasting global recession.

“In these challenging circumstances, it is more important than ever that business – and especially the Global Compact – take a leading role in getting out the message that the long-term success of business and the stability of markets and societies are two sides of the same coin,” he stated.

The Compact pledges participating businesses – now numbering some 5,000 in over 100 countries – to observe principles regarding human rights, labour rights, environmental sustainability and the fight against corruption.

“Most immediately, we must do all we can to bring the global economy back on a track of sustainable growth that will advance development,” said the Secretary-General, adding that the Compact and the UN values it promotes can help restore trust and build confidence in markets.

He also noted that these tough times can also offer opportunities for ‘green’ growth. Recently, he proposed a “Green New Deal” to create new employment and foster sustainable markets while safeguarding the environment and natural resources.

“Business can and must join in investing in a sustainable future,” he stressed.


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