Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that climate change ‘threatens all our goals for development and social progress’

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged business leaders worldwide to embrace ‘global cooperation and partnership on a scale never before seen’ and to eschew short-term thinking and seek long-term solutions to climate change and other pressing global challenges.

The Secretary-General’s call came during a special session on the United Nations Global Compact at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Calling 2009 ‘the year of multiple crises’, the Secretary-General stressed that, amid worries over a global recession, climate change ‘threatens all our goals for development and social progress’, but that it also ‘presents us with a gilt-edged opportunity’ to invest in sustainable technologies and spur long-term growth. ‘I encourage you to help create a future based on a low-carbon economy’, he said, and renewed previous appeals to business to join the movement for a comprehensive and meaningful agreement on climate change, to be negotiated later this year in Copenhagen.

Reflecting on progress made by the UN Global Compact in past years, the Secretary-General called for a new phase of the initiative, marked by a renewed commitment to the core principles of human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption. He also urged companies to embrace accountability and disclose progress. ‘By doing so, you will not only be doing what is right’, the Secretary-General said. ‘You will also be helping to restore trust, confidence and credibility into the markets.’