The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Global Compact (UN Global Compact) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) have established the COVID-19 Private Sector Global Facility, a global initiative and collaboration bringing together public and private sector partners to help local communities recover better from the pandemic. Deutsche Post DHL Group, Microsoft Corp. and the PwC network (“PwC”) have already joined the COVID-19 Private Sector Global Facility and the initiative is open for other like-minded private sector organisations that want to contribute.
The Global Facility is a response to corporate calls to action for private sector leaders and governments to work together to address the negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The initiative has been established to better coordinate their responses, helping to ensure that immediate stimulus efforts flow into the real economy.
The Global Facility will operate at both the global and national levels. It aims to co-create solutions that are tailored to the phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in a given area and the specificities of the local private sector and government context. Guided by the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles and the Sustainable Development Goals, the Facility will support a multisectoral, whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to face the multidimensional nature of the crisis. Recovery efforts will focus on how to rebuild more inclusive economies and societies, to set a new course for a socially just, low-carbon and climate-resilient world where no one is left behind. Initial projects will focus on the countries of Colombia, Ghana, the Philippines and Turkey. Both the geographical scope and participating partners will expand as the Global Facility develops.
“Solidarity to ‘Recover Better Together’ can boost our collective efforts not only to cope with the crisis but overcome it. UNDP’s footprint across some 170 countries and territories, combined with the UN Global Compact’s network of more than 10,000 companies and 68 Local Networks around the world, and the International Chamber of Commerce’s network of over 45 million companies, multiplies our collective capacity and potential. The Facility is the first of its kind – designed to join forces across public and private sectors to serve humanity in an imperative moment,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.
The COVID-19 Private Sector Global Facility was announced by Mr Steiner at the SDG Business Forum during the UN General Assembly, the largest and most inclusive UN convening of private sector leaders. Launched under the motto “Recover Better Together”, the timing of this initiative has special importance, marking the commemoration of some important UN-related milestones: the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations; the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Global Compact; and the Centenary of ICC’s founding after WWI at a time when multilateralism is facing the greatest challenge of its generation.
The Initiating Partners are UNDP, UN Global Compact and ICC. Together, they will bring their unique access to global expertise on responsible business practices, economic recovery, green business transformation and multi-hazard risk management.
“As COVID-19 disrupts societies, development agendas must adjust accordingly. There is a need for inclusive multilateralism, drawing on the critical contributions of civil society, business, foundations, the research community, local authorities, cities and regional governments. By unlocking public-private and private-private cooperation for a sustainable response to COVID-19 challenges, it is possible to recover better and build more resilient economies,” said Mr Steiner.
The private sector has been acutely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 10 principles of the UN Global Compact affirm the belief that businesses exist to serve and advance their societies, and their success cannot come at the cost of social or environmental regression.
“It is a moment of human tragedy and intense economic and social upheaval. But it is also a moment of possibility. Through partnerships like the COVID-19 Private Sector Global Facility we will support companies to Recover Better Together from the pandemic and finally confront global inequality by taking action, as well as mitigate the worst impacts of a climate emergency that threatens all of humanity. Together we can construct a new paradigm of resilience,” saidSanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced around 70% of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to shut down their operations. SMEs represent 50% of global GDP and more than 70% of global employment. The partners of the COVID-19 Private Sector Global Facility, representing multinational, global and local private sector stakeholders, commit to joint projects to develop policy and financial solutions for pandemic relief.
ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said: “ICC’s local networks can bring value to the cooperation by reaching small business owners who want to have their challenges understood, their ideas heard, and their efforts to Recover Better recognised and built upon by others. SMEs need a way to facilitate this vital exchange of ideas, learning and experience with each other and with organisations and institutions in a position to support them.”
Private sector involvement
The COVID-19 Private Sector Global Facility is supported by strategic partners DHL, Microsoft and PwC, and is open for other like-minded private sector organisations that want to join this initiative. The strategic partners will add their expertise and technology to support this transformational recovery.
“In the current situation our employees recognize more than ever before their contribution to the well-being of the population. Under extremely difficult circumstances Deutsche Post DHL Group kept the global flow of goods, secured supply chains and provided the world with the necessary protective equipment. We want to share our experience of operating during one of the biggest health crises in recent history to protect lives against the pandemic. Join our efforts of connecting people improving lives to address the upcoming challenges together with our long standing partner UNDP,” said Monika Schaller, EVP Group Communications, Sustainability and Brand.
Deutsche Post DHL Group embarked upon the idea to support the Global Facility before its launch. The company underlined that their world-wide network enables them to make a difference on the ground for the local SMEs and helps them to survive in the present situation by solving logistical constraints.
“In line with Microsoft’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, we firmly believe technology can be a force for good in these challenging times and we’re proud to partner with public and private sector partners in an effort to accelerate global recovery. We see The Global Facility as an opportunity to create economic opportunities for all, bring our sustainability investments forward to support growth and recovery in a manner that advances our shared environmental agendas, and use data and AI to a build a system of intelligence to help all stakeholders better target their efforts to the communities that need the most help.” said Justin Spelhaug, Microsoft VP and Global Head of Tech for Social Impact.
Firms from the global professional services network PwC joined the initiative at its conceptual stage with UNDP. PwC will continue to play an instrumental role in supporting the design and establishment of this flagship global public-private cooperation. Additionally, PwC will help to develop finance and policy solutions and coordinate multistakeholder engagement. PwC’s role in the Global Facility is led by PwC Poland and supported by PwC Canada, PwC Hungary, PwC India, PwC Norway, PwC Middle East, PwC Switzerland, PwC Turkey and PwC UK.
“At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. Together with our clients and communities, we are working to assess and mitigate the major challenges that the pandemic poses for our economies and societies. We are proud to be working with our public and private sector partners to help structure and implement real pandemic relief solutions that make a difference in people’s lives,” said Agnieszka Gajewska, PwC Poland Partner, CEE Public Sector and Infrastructure Leader.
In order to effectively reach the most vulnerable in the most efficient ways, the facility aims to expand the list of strategic partners.
Organisations that want to play a leading role in the global pandemic recovery and join this call to action are encouraged to contact the UNDP project coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org for a discussion on how they can get involved.