UN Global Compact @ 20: Sereni, “Private sector has key role in COVID-19 pandemic”

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NEW YORK, JUNE 15 – “The 20th anniversary of the UN Global Compact occurs at historical juncture of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The private sector is called upon to play a proactive role as a global stakeholder for a transformative model of development”, the Italian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marina Sereni, said today in her address to Global Compact Leaders’ Summit. “A better recovery from the Coronavirs crisis is based on a renewed approach to energy, green transition, digital transformation, finance, employment, gender parity. We should take advantage of our entire human and social capital, our small and medium enterprises and the inclusion of women”, said Sereni thanking Lise Kingo for her stewardship and accomplishments and warmly welcoming Sanda Ojiambo as new UNGC Executive-Director.

“Italy will continue to support the Global Compact on the path towards sustainable development and increased resilience. Now more than ever, companies need to address environmental, social and governance risks and move beyond business-as-usual”, Sereni said, adding that the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement must continue to be the pillars of our action: “People, planet, prosperity are at center of Italy’s strategy towards the G20 Presidency, COP26 and the preparatory event pre-COP with the summit Youth for Climate”.

Opening the summit, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres,  said that he is encouraged to see so many companies, of so many sizes and from so many sectors and countries, recognizing the urgent need for global unity and international cooperation. He added that now, more than ever, as big decisions are made about our future, companies need to address environmental, social and governance risks holistically and move beyond business-as-usual.

He also challenged businesses to take more ambitious and comprehensive action across their operations and value chains by setting goals in line with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The President of the UN General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande said that the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly brought about hard times for many around the world, and they look at leaders in government, international organizations, businesses and civil society for solution.

In his statement at the opening of the UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit, the President of the General Assembly, however, said that hard times should bring humanity closer and remind us of our collective power to overcome the toughest crises through solidarity, trust and partnership like the world witnessed 75 years ago when leaders convened to sign the UN Charter and create the United Nations.Hard times should bring humanity closer and remind us of our collective power to overcome the toughest crises through solidarity, trust and partnership. (@OnuItalia)