Business push at UN General Assembly

World leaders from governments, private sector and civil society gathered in New York on 22-27 September for the 74th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. On the agenda was climate action and progress on the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The International Organisation of Employers (IOE) took part in numerous high-level panels and discussions during the General Assembly, emphasizing the critical role of business in achieving development targets and how employers and business organisations are bridging the gap between UN decision-making and private sector action.

Here is a round up of the events attended and the key messages shared with different key stakeholders.

Climate and SDG action

Against the backdrop of global climate marches, the UN Climate Action Summit got underway on 23 September. IOE Secretary-General Roberto Suárez Santos was a featured panellist at an ILO high-level discussion with leaders from the UN and selected governments on just transition and climate action. Santos expressed business support for the aims of a just transition, but made the point that small and medium companies need it to also make good business sense.

Ahead of the SDG Summit on 24-25 September, IOE Secretary General Suárez made a joint video appeal with Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), stressing the crucial importance of social dialogue, partnerships and inclusive multilateralism towards moving the Agenda 2030 forward. They also renewed their call for more government action on meeting SDG 8 targets.

As Co-Chair of the SDG major stakeholder group on business and industry, IOE presented private sector views at the Civil Society Forum. Additionally, MasterCard spoke at the SDG Summit presenting business-led measures to leverage progress on the SDGs. IOE also attended the UN Global Compact Board meeting and High-level CEO roundtable, which focused on the role of businesses in achieving the SDGs and most importantly innovative ways to address the financing of the SDGs. 

Focus on sIde events

A series of parallel events, including a high-level discussion organised by the Ford Foundation and the ILO took place throughout the week. IOE Secretary-General joined Sharan Burrow from ITUC and the President of Estonia H.E. Ms. Kersti Kaljulaid at the Ford Foundation to discuss strengthening institutions of work.

IOE Secretary General also spoke during the ILO’s major panel on next steps for the Convention on Violence and Harassment. Addressing CEOs from 3M, Walmart and numerous other major companies, IOE Secretary-General Suárez gave a keynote speech at the Business Council for International Understanding with a focus on occupational safety and health.

IOE staff took part in events on the future of work, job creation for youth, gender, and partnerships. IOE, on behalf of its network of more than 150 Employers’ Organisations, made clear some of the business priorities: skills development, the future of business, sustainable business environments and partnerships. Together with workers and governments, these can be advanced, and ultimately contribute to progress on 2030 targets.

Follow IOE participation in these events on our Twitter account @ioevoice.

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