Honorable Takeshi Nakamura, Chairperson of the JCI Global Partnership Summit,
Honorable Paschal Dike, President of Junior Chamber International,
Honorable Arrey Obenson, JCI Secretary General,
Distinguished members of the JCI Executive Committee,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am thrilled to join so many young people at this year’s JCI Global Partnership Summit. I would like to thank the JCI for bringing us together.
All of you are leaders in the campaign for a world without poverty, a thriving planet, a vibrant and inclusive global economy, and a life of dignity for all. This is the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals, agreed by the Member States of the United Nations last September.
We need new ways of living that will end the suffering, discrimination and lack of opportunity that define the lives of billions of people around the world, and that drive instability and conflict.
I know you are as troubled as I am about the violence and hatred that are destroying lives, undermining development and eroding the foundations of peaceful coexistence.
Never before has it been so urgent for business to step up efforts to support peace.
Peace and stability are critical for long-term business success. When contries and entire regions are affected by violence and the absence of the rule of law, business should be a messenger of peace.
Each day seems to bring new reports of killings, bombings and other outrages. It can be difficult to feel optimistic about our future.
Some look at youth as part of the problem -- but I see young people as the solution. The Security Council has recognized the value of young peacebuilders in its historic resolution 2250, adopted last December.
And across the international agenda, I see hope – including through the engagement of young leaders like you. I continue to believe that we are in an era of opportunity and that, together, we can find solutions to our world’s toughest challenges.
This will require new heights of collaboration and action by all. No sector alone can slow climate change or reverse biodiversity loss. No single entity can end corruption or poverty, or promote equality, especially for women. Success depends on governments, companies, investors, educators, activists and citizens coming together to foster peace, protect human rights and achieve sustainable development.
Business participation will be crucial. The private sector’s talent, drive and expertise will be essential. By embracing the SDGs, business can be a powerful force for good.
Each of you here can help jump-start the responsible business practices, innovations and partnerships needed to achieve the SDGs.
That starts with doing business right, and by embedding the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption into your operations.
Companies are also seeing many opportunities to innovate and partner around the SDGs.
Taking responsibility and finding opportunity – these are important ways that companies can advance the SDGs.
I thank JCI for its decades of work to rally young people around the world, for your new focus on the 2030 Agenda, and for your efforts to support sustainable development priorities such as health, education and economic empowerment.
Thank you for supporting the work of the United Nations. Together, we can achieve a better future for the world’s young people and uphold the core promise of the 2030 Agenda: to leave no one behind.