DFAT Calls for Business to Drive Aid Development
9 September 2015 at 10:26 am
A new Government strategy to engage the private sector in shared value will involve collaboration between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Global Compact Network Australia.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop announced the two-year partnership saying it will drive business involvement in achieving sustainable development and aid goals.
The Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA) is the Australian business-led network of the United Nations Global Compact. Executive Manager Alice Cope said business has a vital role to play in achieving social outcomes.
“As the primary driver of economic activity, sustainable development cannot be achieved without business,” Cope said.
“Many businesses are already taking significant action around social and environmental sustainability issues. With this new partnership, we hope to help scale up corporate sustainability as a key contributor to broader sustainable development challenges in Australia and across the region.”
2015 is flagged as a watershed year for the global sustainable development agenda, with the UN launching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) this month, setting global development priorities to 2030. SDGs will replace the Millennium Development Goals which expire this year.
The SDGs address poverty, climate change, gender equality, water, education, sustainable infrastructure and food security.
Cope said businesses that implement shared value also stand to benefit economically.
“There is also a compelling business case for engagement. At its core, sustainable development is about addressing unmet needs – poverty, inequality, nutrition, education. There is strong alignment between addressing these issues and fostering stable enabling environments for business, creating more resilient supply chains and building new markets,” she said.
“We are seeing through the growth of the Global Compact in Australia that Australian businesses are keen to both operate responsibly and actively contribute to the sustainable development agenda.”
The DFAT and GCNA partnership also established the GCNA Sustainable Development Leadership Group to guide businesses in incorporating shared value.
“Our new Sustainable Development Leadership Group will provide a platform for business and stakeholders to engage in learning, dialogue and action around sustainable development, and foster cross-sectoral collaboration,” Cope said.
The Leadership Group will also serve as an intermediary between business and DFAT, as the Government seeks to implement its new aid policy which features private sector engagement.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop released the strategy “Engaging the Private Sector: Creating Shared Value through Partnership”, inviting the private sector to collaborate with DFAT in development.
"For the first time Australia has an aid policy which clearly identified the private sector as an essential partner to achieving sustainable development outcomes in our region,” Bishop said.
“The Statement acknowledges that the private sector has the means and increasingly the motivation to contribute to development outcomes as part of their core business. It invites the private sector to collaborate with the aid program on implementing sustainable solutions that tackle development challenges whilst delivering commercial returns.”
Read the strategy here.