The role of the private sector is key to the challenge of mobilizing financing sources and mechanisms for implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the region, business representatives, delegates and international officials agreed during the Business Forum for the Sustainable Development Goals in Latin America and the Caribbean 2019: Public-Private Strategies for the Financing and Monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals, held on Monday, April 22, in Chile.
The event, organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the United Nations Global Compact, took place on the sidelines of the third meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, which is being held April 22-26 at the Commission’s headquarters in Santiago.
The Business Forum was inaugurated by Daniel Titelman, Director of ECLAC’s Economic Development Division; Margarita Ducci, Executive Director of the Global Compact Network Chile; and Angus Rennie, Senior Manager of Partnerships and UN Relations at the United Nations Global Compact. Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, participated in the closing session.
“The conditions for financing the 2030 Agenda are difficult in Latin America and the Caribbean, due to the change in the economic cycle and because it is a middle income region. It is necessary for more private-sector actors to play a relevant role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said Bárcena, who called for “changing the conversation between governments, the private sector and civil society.”
ECLAC’s Executive Secretary highlighted that one of the event’s conclusions had been that “companies that invest in the SDGs can be more profitable and sustainable” in the medium and long term. “We need to move toward genuine, and not spurious, competitiveness in order to move toward much more inclusive development,” she stated.
At the inauguration of the event, Daniel Titelman affirmed that “for ECLAC and the Global Compact, the success of transformative public-private compacts and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda depend on the joint capacity to mobilize the necessary financial resources.”
Meanwhile, in her remarks, Margarita Ducci referred to the work of compiling and disseminating emblematic cases of alliances between companies, civil society, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other actors that are having a concrete impact on people’s quality of life. So far, 73 projects have been identified, and they will be included in the voluntary report that the Chilean government will present in July before the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York, she indicated.
The challenge, she said, is to better coordinate public-private efforts and build a shared methodology that allows for making better decisions regarding social investment. “The 2030 Agenda is concrete, it can be applied at a country level, applied in industry associations and applied in a company,” she stressed during the closing session.
Angus Rennie – on behalf of Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact – indicated that the Global Compact is working with corporate stakeholders to tackle the shortfall in SDG financing on a global level. To create major impact, he said, they have focused on three opportunities: calling on companies to consider issuing SDG Bonds when raising debt; applying an SDG-lens to corporate pension fund investments; and taking an SDG approach with Foreign Direct Investments.
"ECLAC’s leadership in supporting public-private policy dialogue, including its collaboration with Global Compact Networks in the region, offers a tremendous example for the UN to follow in other regions," Rennie stated.
During the gathering, participants underscored the importance of the voluntary reports on follow-up of the 2030 Agenda’s implementation that countries present before the United Nations as a guide for corporate action in this area, and for including the private sector’s contribution to the achievement of the SDGs. At the event, representatives from Chile, Colombia and Guatemala presented their initiatives in this sense.
To have a real impact on people’s quality of life, the 2030 Agenda and the 17 SDGs must be part of companies’ strategies, the speakers sustained.
The Business Forum for the SDGs – which is taking place for a third consecutive year – is one of more than 50 side events to the third meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, which will be officially inaugurated on Wednesday, April 24, at ECLAC’s headquarters in Santiago.
More than a thousand people – including government delegates and representatives of international institutions, the private sector, academia and civil society – will participate in the Forum to review the progress and challenges related to implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the region.