Calling the United Nations the “epicentre” of global unity during the organisation’s 75th birthday this week, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged the need to transform multilateralism itself to address current global challenges. One of those challenges is achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, what Brookings Institution President General John Allen has called one of the UN’s “most crowning achievements” in consensus building.
Agreeing that cross-sector partnerships are the engine for catalysing a true decade of action on the Sustainable Development Goals while also addressing the impacts of COVID-19, the World Benchmarking Alliance is collaborating with the UN and others to bring solutions to the table, strengthen unconventional alliances, and supercharge corporate leadership and accountability across 2030 Agenda .
Here is an overview of how WBA and its partners marked the UN’s 75th anniversary, as well as opportunities to join us to help get the world back on track on the SDGs while leaving no one behind:
Launching the Gender baseline assessment:
Prior to the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Platform of Action, WBA released its Baseline Gender Assessment, reviewing 36 of the world’s most influential companies in the apparel sector, including their value chains. The assessment, free and publicly available for all, found current corporate disclosure around gender efforts is “woefully insufficient” and that “gender inequalities all too often go unnoticed because of invisible gender data.” The launch included a remark from UK Ambassador to ECSOC, Tom Woodroffe on the value of corporate transparency on the SDGs , along with the announcement of a new round of corporate commitments advancing women’s health – impacting hundreds of thousands of women globally – coordinated by the Universal Access Project of the UN Foundation. Learn more about our Gender Benchmark and social transformation work, including career opportunities.
Advancing a financial system transformation:
At the launch of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, heads of state gathered virtually to discuss strengthening the global financial system, both in terms of rebuilding in the wake up of the COVID–19 pandemic as well as upping resiliency for future crises. WBA fed into a menu of options that included more than 200 ideas gathered from a genuinely multi-stakeholder UN-led consultation process – including ambassadors, UN agencies, non governmental organisations, business groups, and others – that took place this summer. Join ongoing consultations on WBA’s Financial System Benchmark. WBA’s recommendations focused on sustainable finance, adopting a gender lens, as well as climate and energy benchmarking (among others).
Convening with our global Alliance, partners and voices:
WBA works with its Alliance to spotlight the urgency and benefits of multi-stakeholder action for the SDGs. Examples include collaborating with the Netherlands and Ghana to organise a digital inclusion roundtable for representatives from the investment community and public sector actors together, and partnering with the Centre for Responsible Business in India to host a panel on breaking down silos across the business community. This global network now includes more than 160 allies of varied geographies, stakeholder groups and sizes, united by a shared commitment to sustainable future. Learn more about the Alliance and how you can join.
Calling for building forward stronger:
COVID-19 has simultaneously exposed and exacerbated inequalities and structural barriers facing vulnerable populations, and it is critical that the globe builds forward stronger from the pandemic. During a WBA panel at the SDG Business Forum, ’Achieving the SDGs through Transparency and Social Change,’ Vodacom South Africa spotlighted its programs to combat gender-based violence and stereotyping. Check out other SDG Action panels. Similarly, Raina Kadavil, a young SDG champion with the UN Association of the United States Westchester Chapter and Marketing Analyst at Mastercard, emphasised the role of young people as entrepreneurs and solution builders.
The 75th anniversary of the UN is a crucial moment for the global community to recall the intrinsic value of the body for both global cooperation and our planet’s future. Moving forward, inclusive multilateralism will be the secret sauce for a true Decade of Action that can accomplish the promise of the SDGs.