The latest report finds that further efforts are required to “realize more networked and inclusive multilateral cooperation”.
The report suggests increasing efforts to advance partnerships that engage multiple partnerships and last for a long period, which can “more systematically capture results and learnings”.
It finds that across the UN system there are at least 3,200 private sector partnerships under way, a two-fold estimate from 2017; bilateral partnerships continue to dominate this number.
The UN Secretary-General has issued a report on the relationship between the UN and the private sector. It offers four recommendations to enhance the impact of the UN system’s partnerships with businesses, and better measure and communicate their impacts.
The report titled, ‘Enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners, in particular the private sector: Report of the Secretary-General,’ was issued on 8 September 2021 as document A/76/319.
The report follows on a previous report, in resolution 73/254, in which the UNGA made recommendations for enhancing this cooperation. The five pathways suggested to accelerate impact were:
- moving away from donation-based partnerships and building more strategic business relationships;
- shaping more innovation-based partnerships that leverage core private-sector competencies and technologies;
- increasing the focus on multi-stakeholder partnerships, which agencies expect to more than double in number in the next three to five years;
- connecting and convening wider ecosystems of actors; and
- expanding opportunities for engaging micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises for greater local impact.
The latest report finds that, following substantial progress to implement those recommendations, further efforts are required to “realize more networked and inclusive multilateral cooperation.” If pursued further, they can help to lead the system towards more inclusive and networked multilateral cooperation
Other observations in the report of the Secretary-General include that: partnerships with the private sector throughout the UN system are becoming more strategic, with a focus on innovation, scalability, and impact; there remains “significant untapped opportunity” to mobilize a more diverse range of actors and mobilize new coalitions; corporate interest has increased in allocating resources to the SDGs through partnerships; the UN system has experienced “noticeable growth” since 2017 in engagement with national and local-level companies; across the UN system there are at least 3,200 private sector partnerships under way, a two-fold estimate from 2017; bilateral partnerships continue to dominate this number.
The report suggests increasing efforts to advance partnerships that engage multiple partnerships and last for a long period, which can “more systematically capture results and learnings.”
In concluding recommendations, the report suggests that:
- Member States embrace multi-stakeholder partnerships to address current and potential life-threatening crises, in particular to tackle challenges that cross borders, such as climate change and the protection of the oceans.
- The private sector prioritize the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and negative biodiversity impacts across its entire value chain while maintaining the highest standards of environmental integrity.
- Member States can encourage responsible innovation and leveraging of technology for sustainable development.
The report also recalls that the UN Global Compact has developed a strategy for 2021-2023 to pursue five “strategic shifts”: stronger corporate accountability; balanced growth of local and regional networks for global coverage; measurable impact anchored by the Ten Principles; harnessing the collective action of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a targeted and cross-cutting programme for such enterprises that leverages digital tools and value chains to reach scale; and strong and active engagement with the rest of the UN system.
The Compact will actively involve its “four guardians”: Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Labour Organization, the UN Environment Programme and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
The Compact will introduce a new version of its reporting tool for participating companies, which will be more ambitious and enable an aggregate view of impact. The Secretary-General’s report notes that this strategy requires the support of Member States, including at the country level, to galvanize the private sector to align its business models with the SDGs. [Publication: Enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners, in particular the private sector: Report of the Secretary-General]