PrepComm II Closing Address
New York, USA, 31 January 2002
Intervention by: Reuel Khoza - Eskom South Africa
Business Action for Sustainable Development
Business Coordinating Forum of South Africa
speak on behalf on Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD) and the
South African Business Co-ordinating Forum. We wish to congratulate the Chair
for providing time for all stakeholders to express their views.
Business and its activities touch the lives of all people. We can choose to
remain static in our ways and thereby risk extinction. However, collectively
business sees the imperative to continually re-invent and re-evaluate its business
Sustainability, almost unheard of two decades ago, is now a mainstream business
issue- as pointed out in our opening address, it makes good business sense.
The past two days have seen lively discussion by all stakeholders on significant
issues. The most important message to emerge is that there are areas of convergence.
In this regard major stakeholders have identified, amongst others, sound governance,
transparency, accountability, level playing field, protection of human rights,
the environment, sustainable consumption and labour standards as core issues.
The global compact captures these principles and it is a good starting point.
However, this is not enough. To be effective sustainability must be coupled
with the globalisation agenda. This forms a sound foundation for equitable globalisation,
trade liberalisation and responsible entrepreneurship. In this regard, we welcome
the Secretary-General's report and support in seeking to harness the potential
of globalisation as a positive force for sustainable development. Globalisation
may be viewed as a product of scientific and technological advances, many of
which have been market-driven. Yet governments, particularly those in the developed
world have, in partnership with the private sector, played an important role
in shaping its form, content and course. The question is, how do we turn the
powerful forces of globalisation into a force for global good - a force for
global equity, redress and sustainability. The case for national authorities
and private institutions in guiding the globalisation agenda along a sustainable
path and, therefore, one in which its benefits are more equally spread, remains
strong. It is felt that a major outcome of the World Summit should be a mobilisation
of global political, business and community will around a global partnership
for sustainability. The challenges of sustainability are too vast for any individual
sector to handle alone. A partnership of governments, UN, business, labour and
civil society needs to be established to address the needs of global society
Governments must recognize the increasing role of FDI in the economic and social
development of developing countries. Governments must be the driving forces
for seeking potential synergies between ODA and sources of private investment.
Such programmes can be used to bridge the current divide between sustainable
development and globalisation.
We have heard the views of the major groups and will be the champions in conveying
this to leaders of enterprises throughout the world - because ultimately the
actions that will lead to sustainability development becoming a reality must
be implemented by individual companies, and the communities in which they operate.
We represent a major catalyst for change in the current ways of the world. Yes,
we need, clothing, homes, food, energy, but collectively we can and must re-define
ourselves. In a dynamically evolving world, the imperative for new partnerships
is even more critical, if we are to survive as a human race.
We propose that concrete projects form the basis of this partnership. These
projects could be the basis for a global legacy whilst ensuring specific programmes
are implemented in developing countries - especially in Africa. The New Partnership
for Africa's Development, NEPAD, is a good example of such specific programmes.
NEPAD highlights issues around infrastructure development, primary health care,
AIDS, access to energy and education as precursors to sustainable development.
I would in particular like to emphasise the role to be played by energy in alleviating
poverty globally - access to advanced forms of energy, especially electricity,
is an essential enabler to economic, social and environmental sustainability.
The business sector is poised to be a key partner in putting this globe on
the path to sustainability. If we are to progress from debate to action, then
let us forge these partnerships and create an enduring legacy from the World
Summit for Sustainable development. We now need to take forward the ideas we
have discussed through the rest of this Prepcom and onwards to the Summit. Dialogue
between governments and all major groups must continue throughout and business
will continue to play its full part.