Helen Clark: World Business Development Awards

21 Sep 2010

Statement of Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP
on the occasion of World Business Development Awards
Tuesday, 21 Sept 2010, 7:00 PM


It is a pleasure to be here tonight with innovative business leaders from around the world to recognize important contributions from the private sector to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

UNDP is pleased to be a co-sponsor of this event with the International Chamber of Commerce and the International Business Leaders Forum.

Thank you also to all who have supported these Awards, especially the US Agency for International Development, the UK Department for International Development, the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency, the UN Foundation, and the Global Compact Office.

The ten companies receiving the 2010 World Business and Development Awards this evening have between them helped improve the lives of millions of people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Their efforts include fortifying low-cost food stuffs to counter malnutrition; delivering affordable energy to rural areas, thereby also increasing the ability of people to generate income; and offering poor farmers access to markets and reliable price information about the commodities they sell.

They include providing quality healthcare at low cost to poor women; boosting access to TB prevention, diagnosis, and treatment; and, through innovative partnerships, enabling access to life-saving malaria medicine, especially for children.

They include giving low-income families access to loans and building supplies for building their own homes or to be sold for additional income.

They include developing and supporting local supply chains in poor countries, helping to bring goods to market, and providing finance and training to small and medium enterprises.

These companies show how it is possible both to be profitable and to improve the lives of poor people and communities.

UNDP’s “Growing Inclusive Markets” initiative promotes exactly such business models, where the pursuit of wealth creation, human progress, and environmental sustainability are seen as entirely compatible.

A new report prepared by this initiative, “The MDGs: Everyone’s Business,” provides many examples of companies which have successfully integrated the poor into their business models to create wealth, spur growth, and spark social change.

UNDP’s programmes can support such initiatives.

In more than 25 countries now, we are working with local businesses and their partners to integrate smallholder farmers and producers more systematically into their supply chains.

Together with the Rainforest Alliance and large buyers we are helping coffee farmers in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru to sell their coffee at premium prices.

This initiative has helped farmers earn higher incomes in better working conditions and has led to improved access to clean water, healthcare, and schooling for children.

UNDP will shortly be launching a new effort to promote inclusive business initiatives in Africa.

Through the “Africa Facility for Inclusive Markets,” UNDP will work with governments, regional organizations and local and international businesses. The aim is to stimulate local enterprise development and work opportunities, including for women and young people.

Later in this event, we will be hearing from a number of companies which have adopted inclusive business models.

They will be making firm commitments through the Business Call to Action. This initiative, launched in 2008, challenges companies to develop innovative business approaches which achieve both commercial success and development outcomes.

UNDP is pleased to provide the secretariat for this initiative, as we see it as an important way of involving the private sector in development and specifically in achieving the MDGs.

Over the last decade, we have seen impressive progress on the MDGs, including in least developed countries.

Yet, significant challenges remain, and the crises of recent years have placed additional obstacles in the way.

To deliver on the MDG promise of a decade ago, we need strong partnerships with all who can help.

Many in the private sector have shown they have important contributions to make.

I again congratulate all the businesses receiving Awards here tonight on being leaders in growing inclusive markets and delivering for development.