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Your Voice Needed: The Next Global Development Agenda

By Kathy Calvin, CEO, United Nations Foundation

April 22, 2014– As the CECP community knows, what’s good for societies is good for business.

  • When companies adopt sustainable energy solutions, they can seize economic opportunities while safeguarding the planet.
  • When women are economically empowered, they create a new pool of talent, suppliers, and customers.
  • And when workers have bed nets to protect them from malaria-carrying mosquitos, they don’t have to miss work because they’re sick.

ShotLife Uganda photo credit - Stuart Ramson Insider Images for UN Foundation

A growing number of companies, like those in CECP, are approaching global problem-solving as part of their core business interests, not just their social responsibility initiatives. Our economy is truly global, and more and more industries expect growth in developing and emerging markets. Making global development a priority is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do.

At the same time, a growing number of multilateral, government, and non-profit institutions are welcoming the participation of business, recognizing that companies bring much-needed ideas and expertise, as well as resources, to tackling the world’s challenges.

Whether on health, education, the environment, or the economy, the private sector is increasingly integral to progress on the global development agenda, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The MDGs – which set concrete goals to achieve by the end of 2015 – have provided a common set of priorities for governments, civil society, and businesses to rally around, and we’re seeing the results: Global poverty has been cut in half, more kids are in school than ever before, and child and maternal mortality have nearly been halved. While we’ve made important strides, we have more work to do. The private sector can play a pivotal role in making up ground on the goals that have fallen behind, such as access to basic sanitation and voluntary family planning.

As we approach the 2015 target date for the MDGs, the UN is leading a process to develop the next set of global goals, currently called “the post-2015 development agenda,” to take us from 2016 to 2030.

The world will need private sector involvement to meet the next set of goals – and that’s why we need your input now as they are created. Businesses are engines of job creation, economic growth, and innovation, and tapping into your experiences and expertise today – as the goals and recommendations to meet them are crafted – can help us succeed in the future.

The UN has launched an open and inclusive process to create the post-2015 development agenda and wants to hear from all people and all sectors. Now is the time to get involved. Here’s how:

  • Contact the UN Foundation at to receive periodic updates and invitations for business to contribute its voice and learn about opportunities to engage. The UN Foundation is collaborating with the UN Global Compact and others to create a network of interested companies, including members of our Business Council for the UN, as well as civil society actors, to support the post-2015 process. You can also follow @Post2015_UNF on Twitter for updates.
  • Read the report with recommendations on the post-2015 development agenda released by a high-level panel appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
  • Join the UN’s Global Compact or Global Compact LEAD initiatives, which are providing leadership and frameworks for business to participate in sustainable development.
  • If you are a CECP-affiliated company, attend the What Counts to the World: Setting Post-2-15 Global Development Priorities session at the CECP SummitMay 20-21, 2014 in NYC to hear from Olav Kjørven, Special Adviser to the United Nations Development Programme Administrator.
  • Finally, a great way for individuals to provide input is to tell leaders what your priorities are through the MY World survey.

Creating the change we need in the world will require bold and ambitious goals and bold and ambitious follow-through.

As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently said at a forum on partnerships for the post-2015 agenda, “This is a chance to set the world on a path that is transformative, equitable, and sustainable. What we do in the coming months can help save lives and improve wellbeing for generations to come.”

The bottom line is building a stronger, healthier, more prosperous world will require and reward the participation of every sector.