Industry wants G-20 to pay attention to development goals

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CANNES (France): As heads of governments of G-20 countries are set to deliberate here tomorrow on a host of issues the world faces, industry captains have called upon the global leaders to focus on developmental issues like food security and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

The industry players have also sought a bigger role for the private sector in meeting the millennium development goals (MDGs).

The meeting of business leaders — B20 Working Group on Development — led by convenors, FICC senior vice-president R V Kanoria and Unilever CEO Paul Polman, recommended a detailed action agenda for an enhanced private sector role in achieving the MDGs.

Notably, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia recently said global food security, infrastructure financing in emerging market economies and employment generation would be an integral part of the summit agenda.

On Wednesday, Kanoria said the challenge was to implement good governance and to stress the development of a strong and organised private sector. “Above all, we have to to create infrastructure for transport, power and telecommunications so as to accelerate economic growth and improve people’s well-being, while respecting the criteria for responsible, sustainable development,” he added.

The B20 working group said the private sector could play an important role in reducing the volatility of prices across the supply chain in the issue of global food security. Also, there has been a call made for infrastructure development through private entities via government supports, while emphasis is also laid on corporate social responsibility.

“Promote the adoption, on a voluntary basis, of CSR standards for businesses in developing countries, which will have a positive impact on development and promote competitiveness,” the recommendations said.

Further, it called for creating a public-private dialogue to define economic, social and environmental guidelines at the country level. “The public and private sectors in every country should be able to decide which aspect of development they want to prioritise,” it said.

According to the United Nations, 2.6 billion people lack basic sanitation facilities, more than 1 billion are hungry and more than 900 million do not have access to clean drinking water. The Working Group’s estimates indicate that at least 200 million people lack formal employment. A large part of the underdeveloped world is in sub-Saharan Africa.

Other prominent players in the meeting include Alcatel-Lucent CEO Ben Verwaayen and his counterpart in Prudential, T Thiam.

(Business Standard)

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