Countdown to UN Sustainable Development Goals begins

  • 17 August 2015
ICC Sustainable development

There is now just over a month to go to the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—the global community’s plan of action for “people, planet and prosperity”—at a major summit in New York.

The SDGs are a new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators that United Nations (UN) member states will be expected to use to frame their policies over the next 15 years in what is the broadest, most ambitious development agenda ever agreed at the global level. The SDGs have been developed through an extensive and inclusive consultation period lasting over three years. The global business community has played an important part in the process, with ICC playing a leading role.

In what we believe is a major step change in international development cooperation, the SDGs place a strong emphasis on engaging the private sector. This approach mirrors the recently agreed Click here which emphasizes the need to better harness the power of the private sector to foster sustainable and inclusive growth across a broad range of areas-from project finance and encouraging foreign direct investment to supporting innovation and removing barriers to trading across borders.

The role of trade

Writing in the Financial Times, ICC’s Secretary General John Danilovich recently emphasized the centrality of trade policy to the UN’s post-2015 development agenda. Mr Danilovich wrote: “If we are to make 2015 the year of sustainable development, the Addis declaration must mark the start of a concerted push to deliver on three longstanding commitments.”

In this context, we are calling on governments to use the Addis Agenda and the new SDGs as a springboard to deliver on three longstanding commitments to: (i) implement the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement; (ii) enhance the availability of trade finance; and (iii) conclude the Doha Round of world trade talks before the end of the year.

The long-stalled Doha Round-launched in 2001-offers significant potential to reform the global trading system in support of the world’s poorest. While the official aim remains to conclude the Round by the end of 2015, WTO members have made little progress to date in establishing a roadmap for the negotiations in key areas such as agricultural reform and services liberalization.

If we are to make 2015 the year of sustainable development, the Addis declaration must mark the start of a concerted push to deliver on three longstanding commitments.

Engaging the private sector

ICC’s new Business Charter for Sustainable Development – launched at the UN headquarters in June – has been specifically designed to enable companies to contribute to implementing the SDGs.

Based around eight guidelines, the Charter sets out a strategic framework to enable companies to place sustainability at the heart of their operations-from staff recruitment through to the development of new products and services. In doing so, it makes the case for sustainability as a key driver of competitiveness in today’s economy, rather than a luxury investment or public relations tool.

The Charter has been carefully designed to provide a common and accessible starting point for companies to develop a business sustainability strategy. We hope that our Charter will better enable SMEs-particularly those in emerging market markets-to integrate sustainability considerations into their operations.

Global Goals campaign

In the run up to the SDG Summit, ICC will be supporting the “Global Goals” campaign to help raise awareness of the SDGs within the private sector. For more information on how your business can get in touch, please do not hesitate to contact ICC’s Global Communications team.

Click here to read ICC Secretary General John Danilovich’s letter to the Financial Times on enabling trade for development.

Click here to read the ICC statement released at the 3rd International Financing for Development Conference.

Follow ICC at the UN Sustainable Development Goals Summit on Twitter @iccwbo #GlobalGoals