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Ban urges private sector to invest in sustainable development initiatives

Article / Review by on January 12, 2012 – 8:29 pmNo Comments

Ban urges private sector to invest in sustainable development initiatives

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Mark GartenSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged investors today to lend their support to sustainable development initiatives to deal with climate change and provide efficient energy solutions around the world.

“In these times of austerity and economic uncertainty, public sector efforts alone will not be sufficient,” Mr. Ban said in his message to participants at the Investor Summit in New York. “Limited public sector resources will need to leverage much larger pools of private sector financing and know-how.”

In his remarks, delivered on his behalf by Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Planning Robert Orr, Mr. Ban stressed that partnerships with the private sector can make a “crucial difference” in development projects, and encouraged investors to take part in the UN Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20), which will be held in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro in June.

“Rio offers a tremendous chance to expand economic opportunity, strengthen equity and protect the environment – the three “E’s”. But to make the most of this moment, we need global investors who take the long view and invest for sustainable prosperity.”

Mr. Ban also invited investors to take part in the high-level group he set up in November for his Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which seeks to ensure universal access to modern energy services, double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, all by 2030.

“We need everyone at the table – investors, CEOs [Chief Executive Officers], governments, civil society groups, technical experts and practitioners – working in common cause,” Mr. Ban said.

“We need investors who can provide seed money for clean technologies or invest in other solutions in untapped new markets. Already, solar power stations are providing clean, safe and reliable electricity to impoverished rural communities across Africa and Asia,” he added.

Mr. Ban said he was pleased to note that investors are increasingly evaluating companies on their climate and energy footprint and are urging corporations to advance energy efficiency in their operations and supply chains.

“Such scrutiny reflects a growing and very welcome embrace of the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The efforts of PRI and other such projects are helping to sensitize capital markets to the importance of sustainability, and are becoming a major force in driving a green economy and carbon reduction,” he said.

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Secretary-General’s message to Investor Summit on Climate Risk and Energy Solutions [Delivered by Mr. Robert Orr, Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Planning]

New York, 12 January 2012 – It is a pleasure to greet the private sector representatives and all others taking part in this important event. Thank you for your leadership and engagement. The Investor Summit has a remarkable track record. In just a brief period, your membership and the assets you manage have grown dramatically. Your decisions carry enormous weight, and we welcome your voices inside these halls. 

During my first term of office, I saw again and again how partnerships with the private sector have made a crucial difference, most notably on maternal and child health. I intend to build on that experience to realize my top priority for the next five years: sustainable development.

In six months, governments will gather for the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Conference. I hope to see many of you there, including at the Corporate Sustainability Forum being organized by the UN Global Compact initiative.

All the issues that will be on the table in Rio – climate change, energy, water, food, global health, women’s empowerment – are intertwined. We cannot make progress in one without progress in the others.

Rio offers a tremendous chance to expand economic opportunity, strengthen equity and protect the environment – the three “E’s”. But to make the most of this moment, we need global investors who take the long-view and invest for sustainable prosperity.

Government budgets are shrinking. Belts are tightening everywhere.

And yet, there is no lack of capital in the world. Our shared challenge is to find the mix of policies, frameworks, regulations and incentives that will best drive investment flows toward long-term sustainable ends.

Climate change is a prime example.

I commend the Investor Network on Climate Risk and the other investor groups worldwide for their leadership in calling for action on climate change and sustainable energy.

As you know, global climate negotiations made progress both in Cancun and at last month’s Durban climate conference. We now have the commitments and the agreed process to reach a comprehensive climate agreement with legal force by 2015.

But we are still a long way from a comprehensive global solution that adequately responds to the scientific imperative. Therefore we must simultaneously achieve significant action on the ground around the world to reduce emissions and improve resilience.

Energy is central to climate change. It is also at the heart of our efforts to advance development, health and security. To make progress on all these issues, we need to bring sustainable energy to all.

That is why I created my Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. At its core, it seeks to mobilize the ingenuity and resources of the private sector to forge a more accessible, efficient, clean energy economy over the next two decades.

I have set three global objectives, which are linked and complementary:

First, ensuring universal access to modern energy services.

Second, doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency.

And third, doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

We need everyone at the table – investors, CEOs, governments, civil society groups, technical experts and practitioners – working in common cause.

Toward that end, I have created a High-Level Group to spearhead our efforts to obtain bold commitments that can help realize these three objectives. The Group is co-chaired by Chad Holliday, the Chairman of Bank of America, and Kandeh Yumkella, the Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization, both of whom will speak to you later today. The Group is developing an ambitious Action Agenda, and we hope to announce a full slate of commitments at the Rio+20 Summit. I encourage you all to contribute.

In these times of austerity and economic uncertainty, public sector efforts alone will not be sufficient. Limited public sector resources will need to leverage much larger pools of private sector financing and know-how.

We need investors who can provide seed money for clean technologies?or invest in other solutions in untapped new markets. Already, solar power stations are providing clean, safe and reliable electricity to impoverished rural communities across Africa and Asia.

I am pleased to note that investors are increasingly evaluating companies on their climate and energy footprint, and are urging corporations to advance energy efficiency in their operations and supply chains.

Such scrutiny reflects a growing and very welcome embrace of the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment. The efforts of PRI and other such projects are helping to sensitize capital markets to the importance of sustainability, and are becoming a major force in driving a green economy and carbon reduction.

Thank you again for your presence here at UN Headquarters and your deepening engagement in our efforts to build the future we want.

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Ban Ki-moon is the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Ban Ki-moon is the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations. His priorities have been to mobilize world leaders around a set of new global challenges, from climate change and economic upheaval to pandemics and increasing pressures involving food, energy and water. He has sought to be a bridge-builder, to give voice to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and to strengthen the Organization itself.“I grew up in war”, the Secretary-General has said, “and saw the United Nations help my country to recover and rebuild.  That experience was a big part of what led me to pursue a career in public service.  As Secretary-General, I am determined to see this Organization deliver tangible, meaningful results that advance peace, development and human rights.”Mr. Ban took office on 1 January 2007. Highlights of his tenure have included:

Promoting sustainable development
One of the Secretary-General’s first major initiatives was the 2007 Climate Change Summit, followed by extensive diplomatic efforts that have helped put the issue at the forefront of the global agenda.  Subsequent efforts to focus on the world’s main anti-poverty targets, the Millennium Development Goals, have generated more than $60 billion in pledges, with a special emphasis on Africa and the new Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health.  At the height of the food, energy and economic crises in 2008, the Secretary-General successfully appealed to the G20 for a $1 trillion financing package for developing countries and took other steps to guide the international response and protect the vulnerable and poor.

Empowering women
The Secretary-General pressed successfully for the creation of UN Women, a major new agency that consolidates the UN’s work in this area.  His advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality has also included the “Unite to End Violence against Women” campaign, the “Stop Rape Now” initiative, the creation of a “Network of Men Leaders” and the establishment of a new Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.  Within the UN itself, the Secretary-General has increased the number of women in senior management positions by more than 40 per cent, reaching the highest level in the Organization’s history.

Supporting countries facing crisis or instability
The Secretary-General has sought to strengthen UN peace efforts, including through the New Horizons peacekeeping initiative, the Global Field Support Strategy and the Civilian Capacity Review, a package of steps to improve the impact of the 120,000 United Nations “blue helmets” operating in the world’s conflict zones. A mediation support unit, along with new capacity to carry out the Secretary-General’s good offices, have been set up to help prevent, manage and resolve tensions, conflicts and crises.  Accountability for violations of human rights has received high-level attention through inquiries related to Gaza, Guinea, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, legal processes in Lebanon and Cambodia, and advocacy for the “responsibility to protect,” the new United Nations norm aimed at prevent and halt genocide and other grave crimes.  He has also sought to strengthen humanitarian response in the aftermath of mega-disasters in Myanmar (2008), Haiti (2010) and Pakistan (2010), and mobilized UN support for the democratic transitions in North Africa and the Middle East.

Generating new momentum on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation
The Secretary-General has sought to rejuvenate the disarmament agenda through a five-point plan, efforts to break the deadlock at the Conference on Disarmament and renewed attention to nuclear safety and security in the aftermath of the tragedy at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Strengthening the UN
The Secretary-Generalhas introduced new measures aimed at making the United Nations more transparent, effective and efficient.  These include heightened financial disclosure requirements, compacts with senior managers, harmonization of business practices and conditions of service, the adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards, and continued investments in information technology and staff development.

Personal
The Secretary-General was born in the Republic of Korea on 13 June 1944.  He received a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Seoul National University in 1970. In 1985, he earned a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.At the time of his election as Secretary-General, Mr. Ban was his country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. His 37 years of service with the Ministry included postings in New Delhi, Washington D.C. and Vienna, and responsibility for a variety of portfolios, including Foreign Policy Adviser to the President, Chief National Security Adviser to the President, Deputy Minister for Policy Planning and Director-General of American Affairs.Mr. Ban’s ties to the United Nations date back to 1975, when he worked for the Foreign Ministry’s United Nations Division. That work expanded over the years, with assignments that included service as Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization and Chef de Cabinet during the Republic of Korea’s 2001-2002 presidency of the UN General Assembly.  Mr. Ban has also been actively involved in issues relating to inter-Korean relations.The Secretary-General speaks English, French and Korean. He and his wife, Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, whom he met in high school in 1962, have one son, two daughters and three grandchildren.  Since 2007, Mrs. Ban has devoted her attention to women’s and children’s health, including autism, the elimination of violence against women, and the campaign to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.

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> United Nations (UN).

The General Assembly in session. Photo credit: UN / Eskinder Debebe The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership totals 192 countries.

When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

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* The above story is adapted from materials provided by United Nations (UN)
** More information at United Nations (UN)

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