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A plenary session is held on “Strengthening Public-Private Cooperation to Accelerate Sustainable Development,” (from left) chaired by W. Lee Howell, Head of Global Programming, Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum, with panelists Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Washington DC, and Feike Sybesma, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Managing Board, Royal DSM, Netherlands. (WEF photo)

Sustainable goals, Paris pact pushed at WEF forum

The World Economic Forum recently held its inaugural Sustainable Development Impact Summit, positioned as a platform to help advance public-private cooperation – and harness the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement on climate change.

World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab welcomed the initiatives that were launched at the Summit and stressed that “systems leadership” is necessary to ensure such actions are seen as interconnected, and integrated, across all of the global goals.

“What is needed is a true agenda for global public-private cooperation, with the objective not to defend individual interests, but to keep the destiny of humankind as a whole in mind,” he said.

Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden, Co-Chair of the Summit said: “There is no time to waste on this journey. Goals matter.

If we are to succeed, we also need business, academia, civil society and trade unions. There will be no progress without public-private cooperation. This is a business case.”

“If we don’t make partnerships part of our work for every global goal, we won’t achieve any of them. The world is more interconnected, and partnerships are growing in response.

But we are still far from seeing the partnerships needed to implement the 2030 goals,” said Miroslav Lajcák, Foreign Minister of Slovakia and President of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly.

“The World Economic Forum Sustainable Development Impact Summit provides an important platform to accelerate business engagement with government and civil society to advance public-private cooperation on the SDGs.

The world’s greatest challenges can only be solved through collaboration and business engagement – this is key. For business, it is not just a moral obligation, but also an economic opportunity,” said Feike Sybesma, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Managing Board, Royal DSM, Netherlands and Co-Chair of the Summit.

“There is a need to bring together strong institutions and robust scientific research and data, bolster accountability and promote inclusion, particularly through the greater involvement of women, to make better policy decisions,” said Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius and Co-Chair of the Summit.

“There is incredible tension between the dramatic innovation that is occurring and the issue of equality. The technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution offer the opportunity to drive progress to the SDGs,” said Marc R. Benioff, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Salesforce, USA, and Co-Chair of the Summit. “When you look at investment there are two groups.

For one group, when you say “sustainability”, their eyes glaze over. For the other – the ones who know there will be returns – that group is having a problem. Data is scattered and it is very difficult to find the data. That is why one of the initiatives that we are starting is to create a marketplace for sustainability and impact,” said Afsaneh Mashayekhi Beschloss,Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The Rock Creek Group, USA, and Co-Chair of the Summit. “You can see skills being transferred from Africa to the West. The West can be so behind.

Why should we not use [working to achieve] the SDGs as a way to break down barriers?” said Marianne Eve Jamme, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, SpotOne Global Solutions, United Kingdom; Young Global Leader and Co-Chair of the Summit. “The Global Deal, the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement are all one and the same, and people need to be at the centre of the dialogue to actualize justice; and to do it without fear, they need equal access,” said Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. “These partnerships are the real keys to putting in place the solutions that we need. We have the tools. We have the ability.

We are winning this but we have to win it more quickly and we will do so with the private-public cooperation that the World Economic Forum is facilitating,” said Al Gore, Vice-President of the United States (1993-2001); Chairman and Co-Founder, Generation Investment Management, USA. “All of the 17 SDGs are related. It is time to put all these elements together and look at the whole value chain,” said Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever, United Kingdom. “The platform of the Impact Summit has created a fertile environment for all the connections to be made,” said Richard Samans, Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum.

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