Introducing the corporate volunteering perspective in the UN Private Sector Forum 2015

The UN Private Sector Forum 2015, hosted by the UN Global Compact, was a momentous occasion with global leaders from Governments, the Private Sector and Civil Society discussing the role of the private sector in implementing the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and leaders from business and investments making commitments and partnerships pledges that will make an important contribution towards achieving sustainable development for all.

The Forum aimed at creating a shared understanding of the important role of the private sector in contributing to the SDGs, with a particular focus on how business contributions to governance issues – such as anti-corruption, peace and stability, and the rule of law – can accelerate progress in advancing the entire SDG agenda.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the importance of business in supporting the Global Goals stating that “now is the time to mobilize the global business community as never before. The case is clear. Realizing the Sustainable Development Goals will improve the environment for doing business and building markets. Trillions of dollars in public and private funds are to be redirected towards the SDGs, creating huge opportunities for responsible companies to deliver solutions.” UNDP Administrator Helen Clark stated that global partnerships for the SDGs cannot be achieved without business. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stressed the need for global internet connectivity and called on those who have a voice to work together to give a voice to those who do not. German Chancellor Angela Merkel underlined that countries with good governance and a vibrant civil society make for a better business environment.

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme was an organizing partner of the Private Sector Forum. The UNV Executive Coordinator Richard Dictus chaired a roundtable discussion on Peace and Stability, where the potential contributions of corporate volunteering and volunteerism towards the attainment of the SDGs were highlighted. Volunteerism also featured in another roundtable discussion on anti-corruption. Employee volunteering was mentioned
in different occasions as a means to transfer knowledge and skills from the private sector, as well as to define policies and approaches to foster cultural changes within institutions, companies and communities.

Representatives of IMPACT2030, the private sector led collaboration to mobilize employee volunteers to advance the achievement of the SDGs, were also present at the event and raised awareness on the initiative during their roundtable discussions. UNV partners from International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) and Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) on behalf of FORUM were also present.

The Forum also launched the , an online platform to provide guidance for companies on how they can align their strategies as well as measure and manage their contribution to the realization of the SDGs.

The closing remarks were given by prominent activist Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of ONE and (RED). He called for continuous concerted efforts by the private sector towards the ambitious Goals, encouraging action by quoting the late Nelson Mandela, stating “it is always impossible, until it is done.”



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