The FINANCIAL — International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, on April 19 met with the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) António Guterres, at UN headquarters in New York. It was their first meeting since the historic decision to grant ICC Observer Status at the UN General Assembly last December.
During the meeting, Mr Mittal underscored ICC’s commitment to use its newly granted status in the UN system to “deploy fully the resources, expertise and knowledge of world business” in the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs are the most ambitious development agenda ever agreed at the international level—and it is widely recognised that their successful implementation will hinge on widespread business action. Mr Guterres welcomed ICC’s commitment to the SDGs and noted that partnerships with the private sector would be vital to address major global challenges from climate change to mass-migration, according to ICC.
Mr Mittal highlighted the importance of rules-based policy-making to enable trade, innovation and job-creation in the context of the SDGs. The two also discussed the challenges posed by growing populism and anti-globalisation sentiment.
The meeting was part of the ICC Chairman’s mission to New York where he is meeting with senior UN officials and national ambassadors. Earlier in the day, Mr Mittal, joined ICC’s Secretary General, John Danilovich, at a ceremony to confirm the appointment of ICC’s first-ever Permanent Observer to the UN, Dr Louise Kantrow. ICC also announced the development of a new partnership with the UN Refugee Agency to enhance business engagement in the international response to the global refugee crisis.
Following the meeting, Mr Mittal said: “Given the complexity of today’s global challenges, it’s vital that business has a clear voice in UN decision making. We look forward to using the unique platform that Observer Status provides to positively shape important debates on issues such as trade, financing, technology and corporate responsibility.”
Mr Danilovich added: “ICC’s Observer Status provides a unique bridge to enhance the private sector’s understanding of the work of the UN. There is a huge economic opportunity at the heart of the SDGs – with an estimated US$12 trillion in new market opportunities. That’s why we believe the SDGs should also be known as the “BDGs”: the Business Development Goals. That’s a message we will be taking to our global network of 6 million members in over 100 countries.”