14.06.2012 - Press release
Rio+20: Combating Poverty with the Help of the Private Sector
The Corporate Sustainability Forum (CSF), which brings together businesses committed to sustainable development, meets on 15-18 June in Rio de Janeiro, just prior to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. CSF input will then be included in the Rio+20 conference agenda. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) are both partners of the Forum. The SDC will conduct a session on ways to ensure that small-scale farms are able to protect themselves against crop failures and climate change. The SECO on the other hand is hosting three side events: on sustainability standards, reporting and efficient utilisation of production resources.
The UN Global Compact is organising a Corporate Sustainability Forum (CSF), to take place in Rio de Janeiro 15-18 June. This main event of the private sector directly precedes the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, the aim being to link the participating businesses to the Rio+20 Agenda. With more than 2500 participants the Forum enables representatives of the private sector to meet with others representing governments, various authorities and civil society in over 100 workshops and Theme Sessions. These should help to reinforce the sustainable development policies of the corporate sector, promote cooperation with government agencies, and provide inputs for the Rio+20 conference which follows.
Such efforts are very much needed, for there are over a billion people with little or no access to the food, clean water and energy they require. Climate change and world population growth are worsening the situation. The private sector has an important role to play in efforts to meet these challenges, and therefore needs to be directly involved in these efforts.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is a partner of the Corporate Sustainability Forum (CSF). Switzerland will be represented at the Forum in Rio by a high-level delegation headed by the SDC Director-General Martin Dahinden, who will speak at the opening panel on Agriculture & Food, on 16 June. This is an area to which the SDC is specially committed within the CSF, and one of the main focuses of Switzerland’s development cooperation efforts. A Theme Session on 17 June organised by the SDC will address the need to reduce the risks to which farmers are exposed by natural disasters. The focus will be on innovation and promising partnerships with the private sector, in which the SDC plays a part.
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is also participating in the Forum, with three side events. These concern efforts to improve sustainability reporting of companies in developing countries (16 June), measuring the effectiveness of sustainability standards (16 June) and the efficient utilisation of production resources (17 June). The private sector is an important locomotive for development in that it creates jobs and has a role to play in the decentralisation of economic growth. In many countries the private sector is one of the causes of the problems mentioned above. Thanks to its financial resources and ability to innovate however it also has considerable potential for helping to meet these challenges. Through joint efforts in the area of resource efficiency, clean energy, methods that favour sustainable agriculture and sustainability reporting SECO works with the private sector in support of sustainable development, promoting active involvement in efforts to combat the above mentioned problems.
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