After more than two years of adverse health, societal and economic impacts due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, 2022 saw a new international solidarity emerge with a focus on improving global wellbeing, equality and sustainability. In this blog, we offer an overview of the United Nations Global Compact’s 2022: A Year of Impact, and then look ahead to 2023, and the renewed commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
2022: A Year of Impact
With more than 17,000 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories in over 160 countries, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) is the biggest corporate sustainability initiative in the world. Established 26 July 2000, the UNGC was launched by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to bring business and the United Nations together to give a human face to the global market.
In its 22nd year, the UNGC hosted its numerous flagship events with ever-increasing attendees and heightened messages around the need to address inequality, sustainability, injustice, war and other crises in a post-pandemic world. Events included TARGET GENDER EQUALITY LIVE, the UNGC LEADERS SUMMIT, which attracted more than 12,000 participants, Uniting Business LIVE, the Global Africa Business Initiative, and the third annual Uniting Business AFRICA.
The UNGC also hosted the High-Level Meeting of Caring for Climate that brought together senior executives in business, finance, civil society, government and the UN to help advance the global response to the Paris Agreement. Solutions that lead to sustainable economic growth were foremost on the agenda.
It was a big year, that also included the appointment of Sanda Ojiambo as Assistant Secretary-General of the UNGC in April – a role that includes building strategic partnerships at a local and global level to drive impact, innovation and advocacy – the launch of the UNGC Academy’s Changemaker series, important additions to the resource library, and heartening news that the UNGC’s communications reach had increased by 26% (reflecting a potential media reach of 124.6 billion). A 40% increase in social media engagement was also reported.
Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – a renewed commitment.
The 2030 Agenda was created in New York in September 2015. According to the Australian Government, it is a “comprehensive, progressive and innovative agenda that responds to the many challenges faced by the world today and into the future. It aims to integrate the social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainable development.”
The 2030 Agenda comprised:
- the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – essentially a roadmap for sustainable development to 2030 and beyond and
- the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, a blueprint for financing the SDGs.
But according to the UN, “cascading and interlinked crises are putting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in grave danger, along with humanity’s very own survival.” These alarming issues and more are discussed in detail in The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022, an essential read that highlights the progress lost in eradicating poverty and hunger, improving health, sanitation, education and more because of “a confluence of crises”, in particular, COVID-19, the climate emergency, and armed conflicts.
The report also offers a roadmap for survival, which will require transformational change “on a scale not yet seen in human history,” writes Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs in the Report. Zhenmin calls for an end to armed conflicts to embark on a “path of diplomacy and peace – a precondition for sustainable development” – and the adoption of “low-carbon, resilient and inclusive development pathways” to positively impact the environment and food systems, while creating greener more inclusive economies.
Zhenmin’s third and final part to the roadmap for survival is a comprehensive overhaul of the global “financial and debt architecture”.
“The stakes could not be higher,” Zhenmin concludes. “If humanity is to survive, we must survive together, leaving no one behind.”
- 2022: Communicating Impact
- 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs
- 20 Years of the UN Global Compact
- Sustainable Development Goals
- Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022
- UN Global Compact
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IMAGE: Used under licence from shutterstock.com
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A participant in the UN Global Compact, CourtHeath seeks to raise awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals and the principles of the Global Compact with business and government organisations in Victoria.
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