World leaders convened in New York for General Assembly week to discuss ways to increase global cooperation and accelerate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Representing more than 45 million companies worldwide, ICC was in New York to highlight the crucial role the private sector is playing in driving the goals.
High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development
Speaking at the United Nations High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development, ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO emphasised the need for a predictable, efficient and stable international tax system, as a necessary path for economic growth and long-term investment.
Mr Denton said that efforts to avoid fragmentation and multiplication of existing tax frameworks were needed to achieve tax certainty for the benefit of both businesses and tax authorities alike.
“Any multiplication of tax policy instruments and frameworks risks adding layers of additional compliance and possible double taxation that will likely hamper business investment and economic growth,” he said.
Accelerating SDG ambition and investment
ICC Chair Maria Fernanda Garza joined world leaders, including UN Secretary General António Guterres and President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi at the UN Global Compact Private Sector Forum. Highlighting ICC’s pioneering industry framework to assess the sustainability performance of trade transactions, Ms Garza highlighted the annual US$4.2 trillion gap needed to fund SDGs in developing nations.
She also added that to achieve the SDGs, focus was needed on three priority areas: providing incentives to create a stable investment environment, working with other businesses and governments to fight climate change and other sustainable development crises, and shifting the conversation about SDGs into a wider redesign of the global financial structure.
“Today, more than ever, ICC’s mandate means maximising the contribution of international trade to meeting the UN SDGs and the goal of a net zero, nature positive and pollution free future by 2050,” she said.
ICC extended support to the Democracy Delivers initiative launched by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and USAID Administrator Samantha Power at the 2022 UN General Assembly. Participating in a Democracy Delivers Commitment to Action event, Mr Denton said ICC would be working closely with USAID to explore opportunities to establish new ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship hubs in the Dominican Republic and Zambia, to enable more small and medium businesses to access international and/or regional markets and reap the benefits of global trade. This follows an earlier announcement to set up an ICC Centre of Entrepreneurship in Moldova.
Leaders on Purpose
Mr Denton was invited to participate in a fireside chat during this year’s Leaders on Purpose CEO Summit, which brings together the world’s most visionary leaders to drive collaborative transformation for a purpose-first economy. In a fireside chat with Dean of Thunderbird Sanjeev Khagram, Mr Denton reflected on the pivotal role of trade in our shared sustainable future. Citing growing empirical evidence that international trade has helped alleviate poverty, he said:
“We should be careful not to position trade in opposition to important objectives on sustainability and inclusion but, rather, to ask the question as to how we can do more to enable trade as a powerful vector of sustainable development.”
Mr Denton also outlined three key areas of improvement: reducing trade barriers, creating more entrepreneurial opportunities and fixing the global trade finance gap.
ICC and the United Nations
ICC was granted Observer Status at the United Nations in December 2016 —providing business with direct access into the UN system for the very first time and providing an opportunity to shape global policies that work with the private sector to drive sustainable development and extend prosperity for all.