Businesses To Play Greater Role In New Development Era In Asia-Pacific, Says UNDP At Responsible Business Forum

23 November 2016, Singapore – At the fifth Responsible Business Forum, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today called on business leaders to take a greater role in the new development era in order to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This Forum, opened in Singapore by UNDP and Global Initiatives, aims to address a sea change in the nature of development funding by creating a new partnership for sustainable development.

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Domestic public and private finance accounts for 89 percent of all financial flows in Asia-Pacific, according to a UNDP report launched last month. While foreign funding (Official Development Assistance) is still essential for the development system, it now accounts for 0.7 percent of total financial flows in Asia-Pacific (down from 13.5 % in 1990).

This trend in development funding is partly driven by the increase in the number of middle-income countries from 16 to 28 over the past decade. This requires a fresh approach to financing for development that mobilizes contributions from a wider range of sources, including the private sector. At the same time, there has never been a greater need for innovative ideas, new partnerships and funding as we gear up to achieve the SDGs.

“This new development era presents unprecedented challenges and calls for unprecedented solutions to ensure stability and sustainability,” said Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Director for Asia-Pacific. “Climate change, aging populations and explosions of popular discontent with the status quo are combining to present an existential threat to both people and planet. Everyone must join together to face this challenge.”

“Enlightened companies are facing headwinds with sustainable growth due to the nationalistic shift in global politics and the still subdued level of commodity prices,” said Mark Cliffe, Chief Economist of ING Group, who joined the UNDP press briefing. “Technology and new consumer propositions, such as sharing economy models, offer exciting new ways to deliver on the SDGs.”

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Michelle Yeoh Urges Asia-Pac Governments To Adopt Undp Gender Equality Seal


Singapore – Michelle Yeoh, award winning actress and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador called upon Governments and businesses in Asia and the Pacific to strive for gender equality. 

Speaking at the Responsible Business Forum in Singapore Yeoh called on governments in the region to adopt UNDP’s Gender Equality Seal Programme, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Inequality abounds in schools, workplaces, in government and beyond, and that is why we need the Gender Equality Seal Certification Programme for Public and Private Enterprises,” said Michelle Yeoh.  “If we do not capture the energy and creativity of women we cannot achieve the full potential of our economies and societies.”

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Latest Speech

Ban Ki-moon: Message To Responsible Business Forum On Sustainable Development

I am pleased to send greetings to the 2016 Responsible Business Forum. I commend your efforts to advance a more sustainable and peaceful world.

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Haoliang Xu: Plenary Address At The Responsible Business Forum

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you Mr. Preston for the introduction, and thank you to Global Initiatives and the Marina Bay Sands for walking the sustainability talk – for making the Responsible Business Forum the first zero-waste zero-emission conference of this scale.

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Engaging the private sector in advancing gender equality at work

The importance of private sector engagement in advancing gender equality in the workplace cannot be overstated. How business does business, and to what degree it ensures that men and women can contribute and benefit equally, will have a huge impact on whether sustainable development is achieved. By making gender equality central to its business practices, the private sector can be a driver of progress that benefits all.

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Eradicating poverty in all its forms requires us to think and act in new ways beyond the ‘normal, business as usual’. If governments, development partners - including the United Nations system, and well as individuals and institutions, continue doing what we have always done and in the same ways, many countries are unlikely to achieve the goals. We need creativity, innovation and passion in what we do, how we do it and who we partner with. We have to ‘be the change’ that we all want to see.

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Timor-Leste’s development since achieving independence in 2002 is quite remarkable for such a young country. The Human Development Report 2015 indicated that the country’s Human Development Index was above the average for the Medium Human Development group of countries, and the World Development Report 2011 suggested that the country has achieved in 10 years the level of stability that normally should be expected to take 15-20 years.

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From Global Goals to Local Progress? Lessons from 15 Years of Practice

In 2015, world leaders set out to defy the odds, committing to achieve 17 ambitious and far-reaching Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. This was not the first time the world had attempted to raise the trajectory of human progress via Global Goals. In 2000, world leaders had blazed a trail with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the first Global Goals intended to advance the interest we all have, in a more just, peaceful and prosperous world.

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From MDGs to Sustainable Development For All: Lessons from 15 Years of Practice

In 2015, world leaders set out to defy the odds, committing themselves to achieve 17 ambitious and far-reaching Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. This was not the first time the world had attempted to raise the trajectory of human progress by employing Global Goals. In 2000, world leaders blazed a trail by adopting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs were the first attempt to use Global Goals to capture and advance the shared interest we all have, in a more just, peaceful and prosperous world.

This Report offers lessons from the MDG experience, distilled largely by governments and stakeholders themselves, via National MDG Reports produced from 2013 to 2015. Over 50 countries’ National MDG Reports reflected on the totality of their MDG experience. This Report draws on their conclusions as well as the breadth and depth of UNDP’s own experiences supporting the MDGs in over 140 countries. Its findings suggest that the specifics matter. The MDGs had more impact when they were brought into popular discourse and when local leaders and change agents considered them less a rigid framework and more of an opportunity to:

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