Advancing inclusive and sustainable industrial development, both on its own and as part of a broader campaign to protect the planet and all people in the future, is the moral and political responsibility of all governments, the private sector and financial institutions, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared today.
Opening a forum of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna, Mr. Ban emphasized the importance of sustainable development as the UN and its partners strive to address the underlying causes of crises, including poverty and environmental degradation.
“The overarching imperative for our planet’s future is sustainable development,” he told the two-day UNIDO forum on “partnerships to scale up investment for inclusive and sustainable industrial development.”
“We have a vision of a just world where resources are optimized for the good of people. A world where we do not exploit our environment for immediate gain – we protect it for generations to come,” he added.
The forum aims to pilot the establishment of innovative partnership-based business models to implement strategies for inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
Detailing areas for common action, the Secretary-General said that encouraging economies to expand from farms to factories, providing employment opportunities for young people, exploring innovative green technologies, and promoting responsible business practices can all serve to bolster sustainable development.
“Inclusive and sustainable industrial development can drive success,” Mr. Ban said. “For industrial development to be sustainable it must abandon old models that pollute. Instead, we need sustainable approaches that help communities preserve their resources.”
Specifically, companies have the power to foster social inclusion through their workforce policies, Mr. Ban said. Companies can also gain an “enormous boost” by joining the UN Global Compact, which comprises 8,000 companies and 4,000 civil society organizations from 145 countries, and seeks to link business engagement with global priorities.
“It is our, and your, moral and political responsibility to work together, to make this world better for all, where nobody is left behind,” the Secretary-General told forum participants.
The forum brings together about 440 participants from 93 countries, including Heads of State and Government, ministers, representatives of bilateral and multilateral development partners, the UN system, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and academia.
It is the second of two global forums convened by UNIDO this year. During the first, held in June, member States engaged in a strategic dialogue on how to formulate and operationalize inclusive and sustainable industrial development strategies and policies.
UNIDO’s mandate is to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development in developing countries and economies in transition. In recent years, the agency has assumed an enhanced role in the global development agenda by focusing its activities on poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability.
Also today, the Secretary-General took part in a high-level luncheon of the Business and Investment Forum, which was organized as part of the second UN Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs).
Speaking at the luncheon, whose theme was “Business Solutions to Development Challenges,” Mr. Ban stressed the importance of the private sector as a crucial partner in driving progress in LLDCs. Businesses can help to spur growth, innovation, diversification and transformation, he noted, creating jobs for young people and helping workers to improve their skills.
Encouraging representatives of the private sector to build partnerships between investors and local companies, the Secretary-General stressed the UN’s desire to work more closely with both private and public sectors to spread understanding about responsible investment based on universal principles, particularly in supporting LLDCs as part of a global mission to achieve a more just and sustainable future.
“I hope business leaders will engage with the United Nations,” Mr. Ban said. “We have many initiatives that show the power of partnerships with the private sector. On women’s health, on education, on energy, nutrition and more, the United Nations has set up structures to help responsible businesses contribute to human progress.”
The UN Conference on LLDCs, which is being held in Vienna from 3 to 5 November, brings together business leaders, government officials from LLDCs and transit countries, and development partners and senior officials from international organizations to exchange views on the challenges and opportunities they face.