Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video remarks for the Private Sector Forum, held virtually today:
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, business leaders, friends,
It is a pleasure to greet this year’s United Nations Private Sector Forum. I welcome and appreciate your dynamic engagement in realizing our shared vision of uniting business for a better world. That vision has never been more important.
I am also grateful to the United Nations Global Compact and its new Executive Director, Sanda Ojiambo, for hosting this Forum. Sanda brings the leadership the Compact needs right now to build on past successes and address the crises we face: the most severe pandemic in a century; an economic downturn on a scale unseen since the birth of the United Nations; increasing inequality; and the existential threat of climate change.
The Compact has an indispensable role to play — the same one it has played for the past 20 years, bringing businesses together as a powerful force for the benefit of business and the transformation of society. Only by partnering with the private sector can we successfully tackle the climate crisis, systemic inequality and racism, declining trust in institutions, and other long-term challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified.
Recovery is our chance to get things right for the future and to address the world’s fragilities. Nowhere will this be important than in overcoming climate change and steering the world onto a safer, sustainable, carbon-neutral path. That is why I am encouraged that so many of you are joining today’s Forum and this week’s other “Uniting Business” live events.
I also thank all of you who have signed the Statement of Support for Renewed Global Cooperation. Building a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable world means integrating the Sustainable Development Goals and the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact into your business policies, practices and value chains. And it means using your considerable influence to persuade Governments that the path of global cooperation is in everyone’s best interest.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that our collective well-being depends on the well-being of each and every one of us — including the poorest and most vulnerable. Equality, inclusiveness and sustainability are not only moral imperatives. They are the keys to a peaceful, healthy and prosperous future. In that spirit, I wish you a productive Forum. I hope that your discussions will lead to concrete steps towards the world we all want and urgently need. Thank you.