9 September 2005

Business Making Critical Contributions to Millennium Development Goals

Tenth International Business Forum to Address Role of Private Sector in Development, 11-13 September

NEW YORK, 8 September (Global Compact Office) -- The private sector is a vital partner in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and companies are steadily making unique and significant contributions to development through responsible practices.  This is the message that business leaders and policy experts will deliver at an upcoming forum on business and development in New York City.

InWEnt Capacity Building International, jointly with the World Bank Institute, Brazil's Instituto Ethos and the UN Global Compact, will host the tenth International Business Forum, "Business and the Millennium Development Goals:  An Active Role for Globally Responsible Companies", from 11 to 13 September in New York.  Approximately 200 business leaders and entrepreneurs, politicians and civil society representatives from countries around the world will gather to discuss the contribution of business to the Millennium Goals and how the private sector's efforts can be enhanced.  The three-day meeting immediately precedes the United Nations' Millennium+5 Summit.

In today's global society, business interests increasingly overlap with development objectives.  Business operations -- from micro-enterprises to multinationals -- are greatly impacted by health, security and development factors.  Conversely, without the multifaceted contribution of business -- through generating employment and income, delivering technical skills, and value-creation -- the Millennium Development Goals cannot be met.

To further explore this dynamic, forum participants will consider issues both broad and narrow in scope, from how managers best serve business interests by engaging in programmes which direct company resources towards socially and environmentally responsible activities, to the growth of the food industry in the poorest of nations within Africa, and the role of the global packaging business in implementing school milk programmes in the least developed regions of Asia.

Key speakers include:

-- President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic;

-- Kemal Derviş, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator;

-- Eckhard Deutscher, Executive Director of the World Bank, Germany;

-- Uschi Eid, Parliamentary State Secretary of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ);

-- Firmino Gabriel Mucavele, Chief Executive, New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Secretariat;

-- Jeffrey D. Sachs, Head of the UN Millennium Project and Special Adviser to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan; and

-- Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, President of the African Business Roundtable and Group Chairman of BHI Holdings Limited.

At the meeting on 13 September, the UN Global Compact will release its report "Business UNusual:  Facilitating United Nations Reform through Partnerships", an assessment of the partnership agenda across the United Nations system.  The report explores how partnerships with business act as a catalyst for reform and institutional innovation throughout the United Nations organization by infusing private sector management practices and performance-based thinking.  Business UNusual concludes that partnerships have an increasingly important role to play as a complementary approach to the conventional instruments of international cooperation and development.  The report's release will be accompanied by a keynote address from the recently appointed UNDP Administrator, Kemal Derviş.

One of the meeting's key speakers, Dr. Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, will have the distinct honour of being the sole business representative to speak at the UN General Assembly during the Millennium+5 Summit.  His address at the United Nations on 16 September will focus on the vital role that business plays in meeting the societal commitments embodied in the Millennium Development Goals and how that contribution must be advanced.

The tenth International Business Forum in New York is supported by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Chamber of Commerce, and the Millennium Project of the United Nations, among many others.

Tenth International Business Forum 2005

"Business and the Millennium Development Goals:  An Active Role for Globally Responsible Companies", 11-13 September 2005, Helen & Martin Kimmel Center, New York University, New York City, Program and Information: .

Journalists are invited to join any part of the programme.  Interviews with speakers of the Business Forum can be arranged upon request.

For media registration and requests, please contact:  Carrie Hall, UN Global Compact, Office: +1 917 367 5232, Mobile: +1 917 921 5779, e-Mail: .

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