The Role of Trade in the UN Post 2015 Development Agenda

The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) and the Green Economies Dialogue initiative (GED) will host a Working Session during the 2014 WTO Public Forum:

The Role of Trade in the Post 2015 Development Agenda: Greening Growth and Disseminating Solutions – A Green Economies Dialogue Initiative Discussion.” The theme of the 2014 WTO Public Forum is “How Trade Benefits Everyone.”  The ambition of the UN Post 2015 Development Agenda is to enhance and integrate economic, development and environment considerations while broadening benefits to all through inclusive growth and shared prosperity.   Trade is a powerful vehicle to advance this.

Confirmed speakers include:

-          Christopher Wilson, deputy chief of mission, U.S. Mission to the WTO

-          Steven Stone, head, Economics and Trade Division, U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP)

-          Brian Fisher, managing director, BAEconomics Pty Ltd

The USCIB/GED Working Session will:

-          present perspectives relevant to trade as a vehicle for technological innovation and its dissemination, global value chains, job creation and environmental solutions, as they relate to the formulation of the UN Post 2015 Development Agenda over the next year and half.

-          highlight the benefits and contributions multilateral trade systems and approaches deliver via trade in developed and developing countries, especially through private sector technology and expertise on environmental challenges such as climate change.

 

Update: July 21, 2014: Final Version of UN’s Open Working Group (OWG) document on SDG’s finalized

  • 13th and final session of the UN OWG process concluded on Saturday, June 19th
  • Final version of the document contains 17 goals and 170 targets
  • The OWG Co-Chairs will submit their report for consideration to the UN General Assembly this September,  which will launch intergovernmental negotiations on the entire Post 2015 Development Agenda.  The intergovernmental negotiations will culminate in a summit at the level of Heads of State and Government in September 2015 to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda, including SDGs.

Update: Green Economies Dialogue Participates at the United Nations Environment Assembly, Nairobi, Kenya, June 21-27, 2014

Brian Flannery, Chair, Green Economies Dialogue, and Norine Kennedy, USCIB, were active participants at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) that met for the first time in Nairobi, Kenya. Decisions taken at Rio + 20 restructured the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to include universal membership and established UNEA to replace the Governing Council as its top decisions making body. UNEA’s discussions unfolded in the context of negotiations underway in the UN General Assembly to agree on a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role that UNEP will play to achieve them.

The Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum (GMGSF), co-chaired by Norine Kennedy, convened on the weekend ahead of the formal UNEA sessions. Organized by civil society groups attending UNEA, the Forum provides an opportunity for participants from civil society, governments, UN agencies and others to prepare for and discuss central issues ahead of the formal meetings. The Forum’s High Level Segment considered four themes—each led by a member of UNEP staff and an expert from civil society—including a segment on Financing the Green Economy—a major topic throughout the week.

Peter Cruickshank of UNEP’s Finance Initiative described efforts being developed by UNEP and others to mobilize investment at a scale sufficient to transform the economy to address challenges in energy, agriculture, protection and restoration of ecosystems, biodiversity and other arenas. Estimates from various sources suggest that an additional one trillion dollars per year or more of investment might be required. Success will require public policy and finance that can leverage private finance. In responding Dr. Flannery (see presentation) explained that it is necessary to consider not only public and private financial firms but also the operating companies who must design, construct and operate projects as part of their commercial enterprise. Also, operating companies often finance their own projects. Private firms will be unable to invest in green projects unless they generate an appropriate, risk-adjusted commercial return on capital invested. As well, many innovative technologies that might provide solutions to green challenges also face significant uncertainty because they lack definitive legislative, regulatory and permitting frameworks. Consequently, project approvals may face significant delays. Flannery summed up as follows: the key issue in financing the green economy is not so much raising funds, as confidence in returns from successful projects.

Green Economies Dialogue also organized a side event: UNEP, the Sustainable Development Goals and Business that was co-hosted by The International Organization of Employers (IOE) and The International Council of Chemicals Associations (ICCA). The event discussed new green growth challenges and priorities linked to the SDGs relevant to UNEP’s environmental mandate, which include economic growth, jobs, sustainable consumption and production, resource efficiency.  Business speakers highlighted the necessary enabling frameworks in trade, investment and innovation and the need for good governance and rule of law that must be reflected in the SDGs to support private sector contributions to economic and environmental progress. The event also provided an opportunity to showcase existing efforts and discuss ways that business might work in partnership with UNEP to foster progress on the sustainable development goals. (see Agenda )

Speakers at the GED event included:

-  Brian P. Flannery, Chair, International Business Green Economies Dialogue

-  Simon Darlington, President, East Africa, Alstom

-  Martina Otto, UNEP Climate and Clean Air Partnership, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics

-  Norine Kennedy, USCIB

-  Lena Perrenius, International Council of Chemicals Associations ICCA

-  Isabella Coche, International Fertilizer Association & Croplife (see Presentation)

-  Weru Macharia, Kenyan representative, International Organisation of Employers

-  Patricia Beneke, UNEP Regional Office for North America

-  Helen Marquard, executive director, the SEED Initiative (see Presentation)

-  Charles Arden Clarke, U.N. Environment Program 10 Year Framework of Programs on Sustainable Consumption and Production

update: june 20, 2014:

Please see below for interventions that were made on behalf of the Global Business Alliance for 2015 for Business & Industry at this week’s meeting of the U.N. Open Ended Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG SDGs).

Business & Industry Intervention: Promote Sustainable Industrialization, by Tom Jacob, American Chemistry Council

Business & Industry Intervention: Promote Sustainable Consumption and Production, by Tom Jacob, American Chemistry Council

 

 

Update: February 4, 2014: United states Council for International Business (USCIB) Delivers Business Recommendations on sdg’s

In a January 31 paper, USCIB identified four broad prerequisites and catalysts for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The paper sets out USCIB’s view that the SDGs and broader UN Post-2015 Development Agenda are vital to improving the UN’s contributions to development and sustainability. The USCIB SDG Recommendations also call for substantive engagement opportunities for representative business organizations to participate in and inform the UN SDG deliberations.

The USCIB SDG Recommendations focus on:

  • Good Governance
  • Economic Growth and Economic Empowerment
  • Innovation
  • Infrastructure

The paper highlights 10 issues that merit particular attention in the SDGs, with many elements in common with those set out in the UN High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. USCIB developed these Recommendations via its SDG Working Group chaired by Brian Lowry (Monsanto) and Tam Nguyen (Bechtel).

“The U.S. business community has a strong stake in meaningful and practical SDGs,” said Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s Vice President for Strategic International Engagement. “National implementation and the right conditions in-country are the foundations on which a UN new paradigm for international development should be based. The SDGs will be successfully put into practice in those countries that have institutions and practices in place, and involve their private sector in meaningful ways.”

USCIB, working with the Global Business Alliance for Post-2015 Development, will continue to weigh in at UN meetings to frame the SDGs, and in the High-Level Political Forum that will be held in New York this July. The SDGs are slated to be completed and delivered to the UN General Assembly for approval in 2015.

Update: December 6, 2013: OECD Green Growth Forum

USCIB’s Norine Kennedy (pictured on the left at podium), attended the OECD Green Growth and Sustainable Development Forum on December 5 – 6 in Paris, representing the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC).  Speaking in a panel on “Unlocking Private Sector Investment in Green Growth,” Kennedy highlighted the importance of providing enabling frameworks and policies that work in synergy with trade and investment rules. “Policies to green economic activity have to emphasize multilateral approaches, and function in globalized markets to enable business to deliver the full potential of innovation and economic prosperity,” stated Kennedy.

The  BIAC delegation also updated the GGSD Forum on the International Business Green Economies Dialogue (GED) initiative, indicating its ongoing work to provide business views and foster thoughtful discussion of how to design greener economic policy approaches into the UN Post 2015 Development Agenda and SDGs.  Dr. Brian Flannery, Chair of the GED, led a GGSD Forum discussion on supporting investment in clean energy infrastructure, in which both government and private sector speakers considered the synergies between public-private sector partnerships, overseas development assistance and regulatory and market signals.

The overarching theme of this year’s GGSD Forum is encouraging and leveraging private investment for green infrastructure and technologies, including innovation policies.  BIAC has worked with the OECD Green Growth project since it’s inception, engaging on the broad range of themes that this horizontal program encompasses, such as green taxes, green jobs, green procurement and green technologies.

Presentation by Brian Flannery, Chair, Green Economies Dialogue

Update: October 4, 2013

Opening remarks on Green Growth and Business by Keri Holland, Special Assistant, Office of the Under Secretary of State for Economics, Energy, and the Environment, US Department of State, during the GED Luncheon Roundtable on September 26th during the UN General Assembly

Opening remarks on Green Growth and Business by Peter Robinson, President and CEO, US Council for International Business during the GED Luncheon Roundtable on September 26th during the UN General Assembly

Remarks by Paula Caballero, Counsellor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Colombia, during the GED Luncheon Roundtable’s panel discussion on The SDG’s–Enabling Frameworks at the International Level–Finance, Investment, and Technology Deployment.

Remarks by David Victor, Director, Laboratory on International Law & Regulation, University of California, San Diego during the GED Luncheon Roundtable’s panel discussion on The SDG’s–Enabling Frameworks at the International Level–Finance, Investment, and Technology Deployment.

Remarks by Sahba Sobhani, Program Manager, Business Call to Action, UN Development Program at GED Luncheon Roundtable during the UN General Assembly on Enabling Frameworks at the International Level and on the Business Call to Action.

Remarks by Niven Winchester, Environmental Energy Economist, MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change on GED’s luncheon panel on The SDG’s –Enabling Frameworks at the National Level– Job Creation and Infrastructure.

 

Norine Kennedy, Vice President of Strategic International Engagement and Energy & Environment, USCIB makes closing remarks at the September 26 GED Phase 2 Launch and Roundtable

Summary of Meeting: September 26, 2013

On September 26, USCIB members met on the margins of the UN General Assembly with government and UN representatives to discuss US business priorities in the UN’s new development agenda and UN goals for sustainable development.  Hosted by Pfizer, the day of policy consultations included a Green Economies Dialogue Luncheon Roundtable on green growth aspects of the SDGs.

Below: Clifford Henry, Procter & Gamble (right) speaking with Niven Winchester, MIT at Green Economies Dialogue on September 26th, New York.

The USCIB delegation was led by Clifford Henry, Procter & Gamble, and Chair of USCIB Corporate Responsibility Committee.   “USCIB members are arguing for a strong focus on peace, security, good governance and economic growth in the SDGs,” said Mr. Henry.  These and other fundamental priorities underpin enabling conditions for job creation, environmental stewardship and economic development.  USCIB members underscored the need for open trade and investment and strong Intellectual Property protection as prerequisites for the deployment of business, financial, and technical expertise to advance development and address international challenges of energy access, food security and poverty eradication.  Other companies taking part included American Chemistry Council, Diageo, Exxonmobil, General Electric, and Pfizer.

In the morning, USCIB members met with Ambassador Takehiro Kagawa, of the  Japanese Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and Daniella Ballou-Aares, Special Advisor on Development to the US Secretary of State.   In the afternoon, Karina Gerlach, of the Secretary General’s High Level Expert Group for the Post-2015 Development Agenda and Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, UN Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development briefed the group on workstreams that make up the UN-wide effort – including the Experts Group on Finance for Sustainable Development, and suggested ways to involve business in these deliberations.

In his opening speech to the Green Economies Dialogue Luncheon Roundtable, Peter Robinson, USCIB’s President and CEO, stated that, ”Events like this one are an opportunity to advance a common agenda of prosperity and betterment of the human condition.”  Speakers from MIT, the US State Department, the UN Development Program (UNDP), University of California, San Diego and the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided their perspectives on ways to prioritize and track economic aspects of progress under the SDGs, and the opportunity to engage business communities in developed and developing countries in partnerships as part of the UN Post-2015 development deliberations.

The Green Economies Dialogue is a platform created by USCIB and the US Council Foundation in the lead-up to Rio+20 for business to engage with national governments, thought leaders, representatives of international institutions and academics on green growth and green economy issues.   The second phase of the Green Economies Dialogue will concentrate on interaction with governments and the UN around the Post-2015 Development Agenda, especially concerning greener economic development and the formulation and pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The UN will frame a new Post-2015 Development Agenda and begin negotiations the Sustainable Development Goals for completion in 2015.  These Goals are anticipated to drive UN activities, direct national budgets and influence stakeholder expectations in coming years, across a wide range of strategic issues, such as corporate responsibility, environmental regulation, and energy.  USCIB’s SDG Working Group is led by Brian Lowry, Monsanto and Tam Nguyen, Bechtel.  For more information contact, Norine Kennedy or Adam Greene.

UPDATE: July 22, 2013    

GED is now on twitter!   or check us out at twitter.com/greendialogue to stay up to date on the Green Economies Dialogue as well as work being done around the world to promote a productive approach to greener growth.