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The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have announced a new partnership to address the impact of crises on children and advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

During the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, ICC Chair Maria Fernanda Garza and UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU outlines a commitment to increase concerted action to help rebuild societies and economies and mobilise support for children affected by climate change, conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maria Fernanda Garza, Chair of ICC, said: “The UN’s 2030 Agenda rightly places a clear onus on the private sector to drive systemic change. With the pandemic, rising geopolitical tensions, and now the war in Ukraine derailing hard-won progress towards sustainable development goals, we’re proud to strengthen our cooperation with UNICEF to start putting words into action. Fully mobilising the global business community is essential to turning the aspirations of the global goals into concrete results around the world.

Catherine Russell, Executive Director of UNICEF, said: “Cascading conflicts, crises, and climate change are all taking an enormous toll on children – but business has a critical role to play in helping every child to survive and thrive. Our new partnership with the International Chamber of Commerce will help unlock investment and innovation to help us reach the most vulnerable children – and to improve the lives of every child.

Uniquely placed to address the effects of compounding economic and societal crises, the two organisations will work together to mobilise resources and address barriers preventing the distribution of lifesaving and life-changing goods and services.

Drawing from the strength of their respective global networks, ICC and UNICEF will develop joint guidance targeted at ICC members on areas identified in the joint Call to Action and Business Statement. This includes influencing the development of policies that support families, including in the workplace.

In 2020, UNICEF and ICC launched a Joint Call to Action: Reimagining the World We Need to the public and private sectors to help ensure that any recovery benefits families and economies alike. ICC and UNICEF have also recently joined forces to call for greater action to address the devastating impact that climate change has on the well-being and rights of children, as well as guidance for business on what they can do to respond to the war in Ukraine.