UNDP Seoul Policy Centre invited the Korean business community, including MNCs, SMEs, foundations and business networks, to the ‘Business as SDG Accelerator Workshop’ to help Korean companies strategically contribute to and benefit from global sustainable development initiatives.

Republic of Korea – April 12, 2019 – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Seoul Policy Centre co-hosted a Private Sector: Business as SDG Accelerator Workshop with the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs today. Participants included executives from Korean companies and corporate foundations, business intermediary institutions, government officials, and high-level UNDP representatives and counterparts.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are targets set and adopted by all United Nations Member States in January 2016. The 17 inter-dependent SDGs address an array of global challenges, such as poverty, inequality, climate, and peace and justice. For effective achievement of the goals by the target year of 2030, the SDGs call for action by all developed and developing countries, as well as relevant actors, including governments, civil society, and academia. Another key partner in the achievement of SDGs is the private sector. As the world becomes more globalized, the role of the private sector is becoming all the more prominent. This has called attention to businesses around the world to partake in measures towards SDG attainment.

The workshop brought together executives from the Korean private sector for an all-day event aimed at mobilizing and leveraging private sector capabilities for SDG attainment. “The private sector is not just a participant in the Sustainable Development Goals – it has the potential to be a catalyst and accelerator of sustainable development around the world,” said Valerie Cliff, Deputy Regional Director for Asia-Pacific at UNDP. In fact, as highlighted by the Business Commission on Sustainable Development in 2017, up to 12 trillion USD in new economic opportunities can potentially be generated through investment in SDGs, such as agriculture, cities, energy and materials, and health and wellbeing. “If the private sector’s tremendous potential can be connected to realizing the SDGs, the impact on employment, economic growth, and innovation in developing countries will be enormous,” added Kyung-Ah Lee, Deputy Director General of the Development Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Also, SDGs offer compelling growth opportunities for individual businesses, especially in the long term,” she said.

Workshop sessions focused on advocating the critical role private sector partners can play in the realization of SDGs, and explored related engagement opportunities with UNDP for the private sector. Among the UNDP service offers introduced by Sahba Sobhani, UNDP Global Programme Advisor for Private Sector, were programs in the areas of inclusive business, gender equality and innovation to unlock private finance for SDGs, align business strategies and operations with SDGs and foster inclusive and green economy. Furthermore, practices of ongoing private sector participation in various SDG programs on the ground were showcased to provide insight into the potential such public-private partnerships can have for global sustainable development.

Programs from countries including Japan, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines were shared by Sogo Fujisaki of Fujitsu, K.J. Kamat of Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Guillermo Manuel Luz of Ayala and Suruchi Aggarwal, and Juliaty Ansye Sopacua from UNDP country offices respectively.

Disaster Risk Reduction initiatives of the Japanese ICT company, Fujitsu, and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation shared how companies can utilize their innovative technology and cooperate with multi-stakeholder partners to advance sustainable development. L&T, a major engineering company in India, has been working with UNDP for more than two decades on sharing ‘skills development’ to support international development, particularly for marginalized communities. The sustainability blueprint of the Philippine conglomerate, Ayala, inspired Korean private sector partners by showing them the positive scale and impact Ayala’s SDG-integrated corporate business model has had. A number of other partnerships were shared by the workshop speakers, including ongoing programs in plastic waste management, strengthening of institutional services, and program financing.

UNDP Seoul Policy Centre for Global Partnerships – as its full name suggests - is responsible for brokering partnerships between Korea and the rest of the world through UNDP’s global network. “The SDGs are a roadmap for business opportunities. We are eager to have the Korean private sector as one of our partners, and our centre will continue to act as a bridge that connects different parts of UNDP with Korean companies seeking various business opportunities,” concluded Artemy Izmestiev, UNDP Seoul Policy Centre’s interim Director.

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