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Statement by Mark Moody-Stuart at the plenary session on Partnerships

Bali 6th June 2002

The statement was delivered in a session where the Chair repeatedly asked speakers to address the issue of partnerships only and not deliver their prepared speeches, a request largely ignored by Ministers.

Mr Chairman,

I am speaking on behalf of Business Action for Sustainable Development, an initiative of the International Chamber of Commerce and the World Business Council of Sustainable Development which is supported also by many business organisations around the world.

I should like to make four points as to how business through partnerships can contribute to the delivery of the goals of the WSSD

- delivery through support for sound governance
- delivery through partnerships aimed at developing more sustainable means of production and consumption
- delivery through the growth of business activity, particularly in least developed countries,
- and delivery through a means of sharing and demonstrating best practice projects.

First, whatever targets are agreed at this meeting, and I understand that there is some contention over targets, we will need sound governance in place to deliver. We welcome the paragraph on sound governance and the elimination of corruption. By sound governance I mean governance which takes into account local and national priorities and which is in the interests of society as a whole. Let me make it quite clear that we believe that this includes the sound governance of business. Business, like any other sector of society, has its share of crooks and scallywags, and responsible business is in favour of governance which enforces national regulations and which has appropriate penalties for offenders of whatever kind.

Minister Valli Moosa has given an excellent South African example of delivery of targets on water and energy, and modification of these targets in the light of experience and achievements. This delivery is enabled by sound local governance. NEPAD is an initiative by African governments to address governance and cooperation on a regional scale and business is very supportive of this and willing to play its part. For the management of river systems and forests and the protection of the environment, we need sound governance and regulation. The governance (a clear regulatory framework established after consultation and then effectively and impartially enforced) which is needed to enable this proper protection of the environment is the same type of governance which allows business - responsible business - to grow and flourish. The two go hand in hand and do not conflict in any way. Business is willing to play its part, with others, in each and every country to help build such sound governance.

Global governance is also needed, particularly in areas such as climate change or trade - ensuring equity in market access for developing countries for instance. Here too business is willing to play its part. But global governance is ineffectual without local governance, which we believe remains the priority. We are happy to work with partners for civil society, labour and governments to build this sound governance framework in each and every country in ways supportive of the priorities and efforts of government and civil society in those countries.

Second, as you in governments set the targets and priorities, we will cluster the delivery partnerships that we have been working on with others under the appropriate headings such as water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity (WEHAB) or whatever other headings emerge through the intergovernmental process.

Let me give you an example from Energy where we have a range of partnerships, including the E7 initiative of major generators, the Energy Wisdom programme, African partnerships working towards regional electricity and gas distribution grids, an initiative to improve access to LPG (bottled cooking gas) essential for forest conservation, a partnership to achieve the elimination of leaded gasoline from sub Saharan Africa, programmes on the introduction of renewable energy and a partnership on energy and biodiversity. There is also of course the Global Village Energy Partnership. All of these will be necessary if we are to deliver the energy targets.

We have similar lists for water, health (eg Malaria Prevention Partnerships), agriculture (Global Landcare initiative) etc and can work to ensure that any gaps are filled. We are happy to work within the kind of frameworks proposed in the UNDESA paper or the paper of the co-chairs of the working group. Partnerships should set their own clear deliverables and timetables, published and subsequently reported on.

But under the heading of more sustainable means of production and consumption we have in almost every industry sector partnership initiatives though which industry and civil society organisations, often with the encouragement of governments, work together to set targets to improve the sustainablility of their industry. Here I refer to initiatives such as the Mining Minerals and Sustainable Development Initiative, Responsible Care in the Chemical Industry, the Marine Stewardship Council, sustainability initiatives in the Finance, Forestry and Tourism industries. This is by no means business as usual. If we are to grow business it is essential that we do so in ways which continuously improve our approach to sustainability in every industry.

These are all partnerships initiatives with targets and timetables. They publish reports on progress and performance. They are funded by business and business is not looking for funding from governments. The kind of frameworks suggested in the UNDESA report or the Bureau Vice Chairs note of today are very much in line with the way we in business see the framework in which these partnerships can operate.

Third, although addressing issues of poverty in the world will certainly require additional commitments of ODA, development assistance is only an enabler. For the issue to be addressed sustainably needs the development of business and sustainable livelihoods to eliminate poverty. I would here draw your attention to an initiative under the auspices of the Secretary General's Global Compact. A group of international businesses across the whole range of business (water, energy, communication, tourism, textile and shoe manufacture, toy manufacture, marketers of necessities of life, health care, beverages, banks etc) are meeting this month to see whether they can grow their normal businesses in some of the 50 LDCs. This is not charity, not philanthropy, but an attempt to grow commercial business and widen markets.

If business did this on its own, there would doubtless be suspicion that this was business seeking low labour costs or areas with low or unregulated standards. Therefore the upfront planning of such activity will involve the development and human rights NGOs who are members of the Global Compact as well as labour organisations such as the ICFTU. Naturally there will be consultation with governments. There is also the intention to co-ordinate these business efforts with Overseas Development Agencies. We need to be sure that the likely impacts on SMEs and other local businesses, as well as on society as a whole are likely to be beneficial. I do not know whether this will yield results - we will report further at Johannesburg. Neither can we be certain that the expected benefits will be delivered - business ventures, like so much human activity, sometimes do not turn out in quite the way we intend. But if there was success we would have an example of beneficial globalisation which was tracked ab initio. If there is failure, we will hopefully learn the lessons together.

Lastly, I would like to draw your attention to a unique partnership of business and the UNDP to showcase partnership projects in sustainable development from all around the world. This Virtual Exhibition builds on a concept of Nitin Desai to make the WSSD truly interactive. From the Sandton Convention Center, the Summit venue, we will have the opportunity using internet technology to connect Ministers and Heads of State to example projects in all parts of the world. This can be in any language and will be web cast so that anyone anywhere in the world with simple internet access can either follow the discussion live or download it subsequently from an archive. These are not just business partnerships, but already include projects from local government, schools, and indigenous people. Screening is by an independent panel invited by the UNDP from around the world.

This is a powerful technique for opening the Summit and making it more inclusive. I hope that you as Ministers will take part in communicating with a project in your region or elsewhere. I believe that this will also be an opportunity for Heads of State to exchange views with partners in benchmark projects around the world in a manner truly open and visible to a global audience and a young audience.

I look forward to seeing you in Johannesburg and we in business look forward to working with you to deliver real results in line with the targets and agreements which you make here in Bali and at Johannesburg.

Thank you.