The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Global Compact (UN Global Compact) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) have established the COVID-19 Private Sector Global Facility, a global initiative and collaboration bringing together public and private sector partners to help local communities recover better from the pandemic. Deutsche Post DHL Group, Microsoft Corp. and the PwC network (“PwC”) have already joined the COVID-19 Private Sector Global Facility, and the initiative is open for other like-minded private sector organizations that want to contribute.
The Global Facility is a response to corporate calls to action for private sector leaders and governments to work together to address the negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The initiative has been established to better coordinate their responses, helping to ensure that immediate stimulus efforts flow into the real economy.
The Global Facility will operate at both the global and national levels. It aims to co-create solutions that are tailored to the phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in a given area and the specificities of the local private sector and government context. Guided by the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles and the Sustainable Development Goals, the Facility will support a multisectoral, whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to face the multidimensional nature of the crisis. Recovery efforts will focus on how to rebuild more inclusive economies and societies, to set a new course for a socially just, low-carbon and climate-resilient world where no one is left behind. Initial projects will focus on the countries of Colombia, Ghana, the Philippines and Turkey. Both the geographical scope and participating partners will expand as the Global Facility develops.
“Solidarity to ‘Recover Better Together’ can boost our collective efforts not only to cope with the crisis but overcome it. UNDP’s footprint across some 170 countries and territories, combined with the UN Global Compact’s network of more than 10,000 companies and 68 Local Networks around the world, and the International Chamber of Commerce’s network of over 45 million companies, multiplies our collective capacity and potential. The Facility is the first of its kind – designed to join forces across public and private sectors to serve humanity in an imperative moment,” said UNDP Administrator Mr. Achim Steiner.
The COVID-19 Private Sector Global Facility was announced by Mr. Steiner at the SDG Business Forum during the UN General Assembly, the largest and most inclusive UN convening of private sector leaders. Launched under the motto “Recover Better Together”, the timing of this initiative has special importance, marking the commemoration of some important UN-related milestones: the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations; the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Global Compact; and the Centenary of ICC’s founding after WWI at a time when multilateralism is facing the greatest challenge of its generation.
The Initiating Partners are UNDP, UN Global Compact and ICC. Together, they will bring their unique access to global expertise on responsible business practices, economic recovery, green business transformation and multi-hazard risk management.
“As COVID-19 disrupts societies, development agendas must adjust accordingly. There is a need for inclusive multilateralism, drawing on the critical contributions of civil society, business, foundations, the research community, local authorities, cities and regional governments. By unlocking public-private and private-private cooperation for a sustainable response to COVID-19 challenges, it is possible to recover better and build more resilient economies,” said Mr. Steiner.
The private sector has been acutely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 10 principles of the UN Global Compact affirm the belief that businesses exist to serve and advance their societies, and their success cannot come at the cost of social or environmental regression.
“It is a moment of human tragedy and intense economic and social upheaval. But it is also a moment of possibility. Through partnerships like the COVID-19 Private Sector Global Facility we will support companies to Recover Better Together from the pandemic and finally confront global inequality by taking action, as well as mitigate the worst impacts of a climate emergency that threatens all of humanity. Together we can construct a new paradigm of resilience,” said Ms. Sanda Ojiambo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced around 70% of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to shut down their operations. SMEs represent 50% of global GDP and more than 70% of global employment. The partners of the COVID-19 Private Sector Global Facility, representing multinational, global and local private sector stakeholders, commit to joint projects to develop policy and financial solutions for pandemic relief.
The Secretary General of ICC, Mr. John W.H. Denton AO said: “ICC’s local networks can bring value to the cooperation by reaching small business owners who want to have their challenges understood, their ideas heard, and their efforts to Recover Better recognized and built upon by others. SMEs need a way to facilitate this vital exchange of ideas, learning and experience with each other and with organisations and institutions in a position to support them.”
“The Global Facility will provide practical support for the real economy, delivered through in-country projects targeted at the needs of SMEs. These will range from digital skills training to the delivery of major infrastructure projects. Ghana’s inclusion in the initial 4 participating countries serves as a solid foundation for Africa, as the geographical scope expands and the Facility develops” said Ms. Valentina Mintah ICC Executive Board Member.
“The pandemic has radically changed the lives of entrepreneurs and their countries economic environment especially in Africa. As the focus is on Ghana, we are ready to support scale up this global impact initiative to help redefine the future of business” said Mr. Emmanuel Doni-Kwame, Secretary General of ICC Ghana.