CMBD Events — Business in Development, 23 February 2012

An Overview of the Changing Concepts of Development and Linkages to the Private Sector

Updated 16h30, 22 February 2012

23 February 2012

The Council for Multilateral Business Diplomacy is hosting a unique multi-stakeholder meeting to discuss the evolving role of business in development, a role that is changing with increased recognition of the positive contributions that businesses can make not only in the implementation of the policies and projects of development, but also in the processes of planning and prioritizing projects and establishing partnerships for development.  Business has a constructive role to play, as a store of commercial knowledge and productive expertise, as a laboratory for research and development, as a partner in pursuing the successes of inclusive growth and prosperity that is equitably shared by all.  Business itself is being challenged to measure its own performance in terms of its impact on society.  Senior officials from international organizations, governments, NGOs and the private sector will share their perspectives in each of three sessions described below, including a special informal dialogue over lunch with UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi.

For more background on the motivations please scroll down below the program and list of invitees.

The CMBD encourages participation by non-member companies.  Special provisions are being made with respect to fees.  Representatives of non-member companies that are interested in attending should contact the CMBD for details.

The information shown here is subject to change. Every effort will be made to keep it up to date.


10h00 Reception — Coffee and Croissants

10h30 Morning Session: Business IN Development.  This session will provide an overview of how the role of business in development has been evolving, with updates on the outcomes from the Busan meeting on Aid Effectiveness, the role of business in connection with both multilateral and bilateral development assistance and transformative partnerships

H.E. Mr. Joakim Reiter, Ambassadeur Extraordinaire et Plenipotentaire, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the WTO in Geneva

H.E. Mr. Mothae Anthony Maruping, Ambassadeur Extraordinaire et Plenipotentaire, Permanent Mission of Lesotho to the UN in Geneva (invited)

Ms. Valentine Rugwabiza, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization

Ms. Cecile Molinier, Director, UNDP Office in Geneva

12h30 Luncheon Session: Business AND Development.  In this session we will engage in a dialogue with the Secretary-General of UNCTAD on the UNCTAD XIII theme of development-led globalization and the importance of inclusive growth to reduce inequality both within and between countries.  He will also cover sector-specific challenges for business and development in agriculture, energy, climate change and infrastructure.

Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General, UN Conference for Trade and Development

14h30 Afternoon Session: Business OF Development.  Sustainable economic development requires the embrace of financial and commercial elements of a decidedly business nature. These elements include but are not limited to the fostering of entrepreneurship, investment, and financing, and a mercantile infrastructure to facilitate and support them. Issues to be addressed in this session include the state of foreign direct investment, linkages to domestic enterprise development, supply chains, aid for trade and dealing with the problem of corruption.

Ms. Selina Jackson, Director of the Geneva Office, World Bank Group

Mr. Rajesh Agarwal, Partnerships, International Trade Centre

Ms. Annette Chammas, First Secretary of Economic and Political Affairs, Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN

Ms. Kris Easter, Development Advisor/USAID Representative to the UN, US Permanent Mission in Geneva

Mr. Juan Felipe Hunt-Gomez, Director of Partnerships, International Labour Organization (invited)

16h00 Adjournment


The Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness wrapped up in Busan, Korea, in November 2011. The Forum, which has been meeting every three years since 2002, represents an initiative led by the OECD’s Development Aid Committee. It has very recently begun to shift towards mobilizing and facilitating multi-stakeholder engagement in the donor process. We are preparing an in-depth report on this Busan gathering because we see its potential for transformative partnerships and another 2012 turning point of change. The report will include additional perspectives on the role of business in development. The effort is being supported by several CMBD meetings during the course of the year, with the first occurring on 23 February.

The Busan Forum in November is significant in shifting the focus from an emphasis on the traditional model of ‘donor countries’ to the new environment in which donors come from a wide range of sectors. The Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation expands the traditional perception of the donor pool as being made up of governments, and thus more accurately reflects the current climate, where donors are made up not only of state actors but also charitable and private sector entities. The Busan Partnership commits all actors to work in a way that encourages collaboration and crucial cross-sectoral engagement in development issues. See the Busan outcomes document here.

Meanwhile, during these early months of 2012 the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development is busy gearing up for its next major event, UNCTAD XIII, this time in Doha, Qatar, from the 21st to the 26th of April. The theme of the Doha event is “Development-centered Globalization”. Find details here. The announced subthemes are:

  1. Enhancing the enabling economic environment at all levels in support of inclusive and sustainable development.
  2. Strengthening all forms of cooperation and partnerships for trade and development, including North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation.
  3. Addressing persistent and emerging development challenges as related to their implications for trade and development and interrelated issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development.
  4. Promoting investment, trade, entrepreneurship and related development policies to foster sustained economic growth for sustainable and inclusive development.

We note also that UNCTAD was busy this past fall and winter as well, with expert meetings and conferences and flagship publications. The most recent events were two concluding sessions of “multi-year expert meetings”, one on Investment for Development and the other on Trade and Transport Facilitation. See documents for these meetings here and here. We take note of two very important trends affecting the global economy. One is the significance of the emerging economies of the developing world, and the other is the significance of private sector engagement in developing world markets. Both of these trends are well recognized in the work of UNCTAD. In the first of the fall and winter meetings, the experts discussed the importance of promoting foreign direct investment and the rights and responsibilities of both governments and investors in channeling investment with a development dimension. Specific references were made to infrastructure needs, as well as biotechnology and environmental priorities. Secretariat officials announced that more attention was needed in their future work in support of the business and human rights framework for investment. Strong interest was also expressed for a more effective multilateral regime for international investment agreements.

At the second meeting involving trade and transport facilitation, the thrust was on policy advice for integrated “multi-modal transport networks”. Touching on energy, oil prices and shipping costs, the experts encouraged governments to implement sustainable transportation policies – and using public-private partnerships to strengthen them. Financially sustainable transportation and attention to the climate change impacts and adaptation, especially in maritime transport, were also addressed. Trade facilitation as it is being negotiated at the WTO, and globally networked customs services were also highlighted.

The first month of 2012 has visited yet another focused meeting on UNCTAD: The Multi-Year Expert Meeting on Enterprise Development Policies and Capacity-Building in Science, Technology and Innovation. It was all about pro-poor technology, innovation and entrepreneurship policies. The recurring theme was that innovation can be fostered by adopting policies that promote entrepreneurship. It was noted that most countries do not have specific entrepreneurship development policies. There are at least as many differences as there are similarities among countries, development objectives, sectoral opportunities, and markets, such that no policy or set of policies will be applicable in all settings. However, UNCTAD’s Entrepreneurship Policy Framework provides a point of departure with implementation guidelines in six categories and a four-step approach for policy makers. The importance of direct private sector involvement is self-evident. See more information here.

A day ahead of the CMBD meeting on Business in Development (22 February), UNCTAD will be hosting a briefing on the United Nations Interagency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity to be chaired by Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, with the participation of representatives of the Cluster´s agencies, which include  UNIDO, UNDP, ITC, FAO, WTO, UNEP, ILO, UNCITRAL, UNOPS and the five UN Regional Commissions. The briefing will provide background information on the Cluster and its workings, plus conclusions and actions taken to date.  Find more information here and here.  We look forward to further discussion on the UN Interagency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity at our CMBD meeting.

Introducing business perspectives, we highlight current initiatives of two CMBD members — Unilever and Deloitte.  As one of the co-chairs of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos this year, the CEO of Unilever Paul Polman displayed his bold leadership style by embracing the transformational theme for 2012 of “Shaping New Models”.  Most striking was the official launch of the new Unilever Foundation that has been established to “help achieve the goal of helping one billion people improve their health and well-being”. The Foundation exemplifies the company’s decision to “move out of CSR and into P&L”. That is to say, business needs to “look at their own impact on society and the environment,” as Unilever’s Keith Weed, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer put it, “and build on their particular strengths to create a more sustainable world”. See his remarks here. Unilever’s strengths are in hygiene, sanitation, access to clean drinking water, basic nutrition and something that the company calls “enhancing self esteem” (i.e. cosmetics). The Foundation has already established partnerships with UNICEF, Oxfam, PSI (Population Services International), Save the Children and the World Food Programme. More information can be found on the Foundation here.

As the key author of the Global Compact’s report on transformational partnerships last year, Mr. Polman also played a leading role in the one-year anniversary of the LEAD initiative on catalyzing transformational partnerships through the LEAD Task Force on Co-Creating UN-Business Partnerships.  He also participated in several events to promote food security, including a session on follow-up to the G20 Cannes Summit on food security commitments (see the report here) and another on Putting the New Vision for Agriculture into Action. The action here refers to several cooperative initiatives in Mexico, Vietnam, Indonesia, Tanzania and sub-Saharan Africa. See the publication here.

Deloitte was also highlighted with a new initiative in Davos. Deloitte’s team was led by their Global CEO Barry Salzburg. Each member of the Deloitte team posted a video of his or her impressions of the Davos forum on the Deloitte website. These are very interesting because it shows the global presence of the Deloitte network and its wide array of services. The main contribution to Davos was the Business:Society Initiative that opens a dialogue on the role of business in society. As Mr. Salzburg reported, a global survey of corporate leaders by the Economist’s Economic Intelligence Unit shows that 76 percent believe that “the value of a company should be measured by the positive contributions its core business makes to society, as well as by its profits” and that 73 percent believe “their core business activities make a positive contribution to society”. See his report here. This was augmented by a “Millennial Survey” among Deloitte employees born since 1981 that highlighted how the younger generation endorsed the importance of the societal purpose of business. Mr. Salzburg emphasized that we are looking today and into the future at a mix of personal, corporate and societal responsibility.

With these observations as a backdrop, we seek to learn more about the role of business in development. What are the views of the multilateral donor organizations, the organizations that include development initiatives in their mandates, the bilateral donor countries and the philanthropic and faith-based donor organizations on the matter of private sector participation in the development process? What are the advantages? Where are the pitfalls? How can the positive aspects be promoted and furthered?

The program for the meeting is comprised of a meet and greet reception followed by three interactive dialogue sessions.


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