For this article, the Globe and Mail interviewed Helle Bank Jorgensen, President Emeritus of the Global Compact Network Canada and two speakers from its Canadian SDG Business Forum 2018 – Marc-André Blanchard, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nation and Marcelo Lu, President of BASF Canada.
The original article was published on the Globe and Mail on September 7, 2018 and written by Parliamentary Affairs Reporter, Michelle Zilio.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will pitch his government’s efforts to unlock private-sector money needed to help meet a set of ambitious United Nations sustainable-development goals as a key part of Canada’s bid for a UN Security Council seat in New York later this month.
In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Canada’s ambassador to the UN, Marc-André Blanchard, said the Prime Minister will deliver the keynote speech at a high-level event hosted by Secretary-General António Guterres on Sept. 24, one day before world leaders convene in New York for the UN General Assembly. Mr. Blanchard said Mr. Trudeau will use his address to highlight the Liberal government’s commitment to help finance the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focused on ending poverty, fighting inequality and tackling climate change by 2030 – a cornerstone of Canada’s campaign for a Security Council seat.
“The Secretary-General is convening a special session on financing the SDGs and he’s asked the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to be one of the keynote speakers,” Mr. Blanchard said.
“He suggested the Prime Minister … because he recognizes the leadership of Mr. Trudeau and of Canada on this issue in the world.”
Mr. Trudeau will also emphasize the Canadian private sector’s commitment to help achieve the SDGs in Canada and around the world, according to Mr. Blanchard. Canada has led efforts at the UN to secure more private-sector capital, through channels such as pension, private equity and insurance funds, to support the sustainable-development goals. Mr. Blanchard said the private sector’s support is critical, as it can help raise the US$7-trillion required annually to meet the SDGs’ 2030 deadline.
“The resources … are in the hands of the private sector. This is why we need the innovation of the private sector, we need the resources of the private sector and the talent of the private sector to actually come together in partnership with other organizations, whether it’s civil society and government, to actually make the agenda 2030 happen,” Mr. Blanchard said.
Mr. Blanchard will continue Canada’s appeal to the private sector when he meets with business leaders in Toronto on Friday at a forum hosted by the Global Compact Network Canada, a group dedicated to helping Canadian organizations advance the SDGs. The meeting will bring together Canadian business leaders to discuss steps their companies can take to close the US$7-trillion funding gap and help the world meet the SDGs.
“We will be exploring innovative solutions, something that’s scalable, that can transform the way that businesses look at the sustainable-development goals,” said Helle Bank Jorgensen, president of the Global Compact Network Canada.
Marcelo Lu, president of BASF Canada, a subsidiary of the largest chemical company in the world, said more and more businesses are realizing that they have a responsibility to consider how their products, work and investments affect sustainable-development efforts. For instance, his company has set its own goals for improving sustainable water management and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions at its production sites.
In the 2015 federal election, Mr. Trudeau campaigned on a commitment to re-engage with multilateral institutions, such as the UN. He eventually announced that Canada would run for one of the 10 rotating, non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council in 2021-22.
Mr. Blanchard said Canada’s work on development financing is important to many other UN member states, positioning it well for a seat on the Security Council.
“The fact that Canada is perceived as a leader contributing to make this happen for the world, in partnership with many member states of the United Nations, shows that Canada is relevant and that Canada can actually help make things happen,” he said.
“That is important in the pursuit of the Security Council seat.”