Business, NGOs and UN Prepare for HLPF
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Mark Malloch-Brown, Chair of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, describes the growing momentum of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “beyond the development world” and among private companies’ boards and CEOs, in a post on DESA's blog for the 2017 session of the HLPF.

Also in preparation for the Forum, DESA and UNDP are convening an e-discussion on specific aspects of the main theme of the 2017 ECOSOC session, and the UN Foundation is conducting a survey for stakeholders to maximize the session's effectiveness.

29 March 2017: Mark Malloch-Brown, Chair of the Business & Sustainable Development Commission, describes the growing momentum of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “beyond the development world” and among private companies’ boards and CEOs. However, they must do more to align their businesses with the SDGs in order to participate in the emerging “race to the top,” he writes.

Of the countries represented in a 2016 survey, Malloch-Brown reports that US companies showed the lowest level of engagement, due to a “traditional corporate skepticism” towards international initiatives. This amounts to a missed opportunity, he says, to employ purpose-driven business models and open new market value worth trillions of dollars. The Commission outlines the business case for the SDGs in a January 2017 report, titled ‘Better Business, Better World,’ which Malloch-Brown says identifies 60 “hot spots” where sustainable business models could unlock particularly large economic opportunities and increase employment.

Mark Malloch-Brown calls on companies to shift to a sustainable business model, in which fighting poverty and inequality is a boon to business.

Malloch-Brown also calls for companies to shift from relying on internal “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) departments to an overall model of sustainable business. In such a model, fighting poverty and inequality is not a business burden, but a boon.

Malloch-Brown was writing for the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ (DESA) blog on the theme of the 2017 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF): ‘Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world.’ Other contributions to the blog series address: the need for greater investment in girls’ education, in a post by Barry Johnston of the Malala Fund; the importance of SDG target 5.3 for reducing child marriage, and its linkages to SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 2 (zero hunger), and SDG 3 (good health and well-being), in a post by Matilda Branson, Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage; a series of expert group meetings and regional fora taking place between March and May 2017 in preparation for the HLPF’s in-depth reviews on SDGs 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 14, and 17, in a post by Wu Hongbo, head of DESA; and the purpose of the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), in a post by Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Also in preparation for the 2017 HLPF, DESA and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) are convening an e-discussion on specific aspects of the main theme of the 2017 ECOSOC session: ‘Eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions through promoting sustainable development, expanding opportunities and addressing related challenges.’ The e-discussion, which runs from 20 March-12 April, aims to enable the wider development community to formulate policy messages and recommendations. Contributions will be channeled into the report of the UN Secretary-General on the ECOSOC theme, as well as deliberations during ECOSOC’s High-level Segment (July 17-20). The e-discussion focuses on: Eradicating poverty and leaving no one behind; New evidence and innovations in poverty eradication efforts; and Systemic challenges and opportunities in eradicating poverty.

In another consultation process, the UN Foundation is conducting a survey for stakeholders to take stock of the 2016 session of the HLPF, and identify ideas on maximizing the effectiveness of the 2017 session. Questions address: overall takeaways and reflections on the 2016 HLPF; aspects of the VNRs that met expectations, and ways to improve the process; opportunities to participate for each of the nine Major Groups; how to make the 2017 session of the HLPF and VNRs a success; and maximizing opportunities for effective interaction and exchange, given the larger number of countries presenting VNRs within a three-day ministerial meeting. [Malloch-Brown Article] [DESA Blog on HLPF] [HLPF Website] [E-Discussion] [UN Foundation Survey] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on ‘Better Business, Better World’ Report]


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