Statement by Turkey at the meeting of Group of Friends of SDG10

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 19.02.2019
Ambassador Cho Tae-yul,
Dear colleagues,
Distinguished guests,

It is a great pleasure to co-host the meeting of Group of Friends of SDG 10 with Ambassador Cho Tae-yul this morning.

The 2030 Agenda and the SDGs reflect an ambitious development objective with a transformative vision. The SDG framework has been formulated to be universal and applicable to all countries.

The development activities of the public sector are critical yet far from sufficient to achieve the SDGs. Achieving the SDGs requires an estimated additional investment of $2.4 trillion a year.

The pace of progress we observed in previous years is insufficient to fully meet the SDGs and targets by 2030.

Inequality remains one of the greatest challenges facing not only developing countries but also those that are relatively better off. Middle-income nations are grappling with increasing inequality and a growing gap in the standard of living between the poor and the wealthy.

The 2019 World Economic Situation and Prospects report highlighted uneven progress among countries regarding economic growth.

Although half of the world’s economies experienced accelerated growth in 2017 and 2018, sustainability of global economic growth in the face of rising financial, social and environmental challenges is questionable.

The report warned that headline figures conceal fragilities and setbacks in many developing economies and the uneven pace of economic progress across the world.

Advancements have been uneven across regions, between the sexes, and among people of different ages, wealth and locales, including urban and rural dwellers.

More than half of the world population has no access to social protection, perpetuating high levels of subsistence activities.

These imbalances push the targets of eradicating poverty and creating decent jobs for all further from reach.

Weak per capita income growth in regions where poverty levels and inequality remain high acts as a severe impediment to social development.

Despite substantial progress over the last two decades, more than 700 million people remain below the extreme poverty line, of which more than half are in Africa.

Faster and more inclusive progress is needed to accomplish the 2030 Agenda. This requires a concerted effort.

We also need a paradigm shift from the “do no harm” concept towards more proactive, complex and integrated solutions to address inequality.

In fact, addressing inequality makes good business sense because it increases economic participation and helps build markets and prosperity. Businesses that embrace workplace diversity and inclusion are more innovative. They outperform in organisational effectiveness and profitability.

Corporate social responsibility is becoming a critical factor to a growing number of global investors and the capital markets. The question is no longer whether companies should apply the SDGs, but how they should do so.

SDGs provide private sector a clear framework to structure sustainability efforts and an opportunity to rethink approaches to sustainable value creation.

To maximize private sector’s contribution and attract SDG-aligned investments, companies of all sizes must adapt and transform their core business strategies to deliver financial, social and environmental results.

They should utilize the SDGs as a framework for addressing complex future challenges and share their achievements and lessons learned.

Likewise, to catalyze large-scale transformation in markets, governments have a role to play as well.

They should adopt policy frameworks that incentivize businesses to make their strategies, business models and investments more inclusive and green.

The governments also need to discourage business models that do harm in terms of human rights, corruption and negative social and environmental impact.

Achieving the SDGs opens US$12 trillion worth market opportunities in the following four economic systems: food and agriculture, cities, energy and materials, health and well-being. It will also create 380 million jobs, 90% in developing countries, by 2030.

Investing for SDGs is becoming an agent of change and economic opportunity. Impact investment sector is playing an important role in contributing to a more equitable and inclusive society.

Distinguished colleagues,

In light of the figures I shared and the challenges ahead, a fundamental shift in the way the world powers economic growth is imperative.

As the primary engine of growth and job creation, private sector has a critical role to play in spearheading this shift as well as helping reduce inequalities between and within countries.

The UN Global Compact with its local networks is an important partner in implementation of the SDGs by facilitating corporate engagement.

In the upcoming High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July, as well as in the first ever HLPF Summit in September, we should seize the opportunity to promote a greater and more proactive role for the private sector in achieving SDGs in general and reducing inequality in particular.
I believe today’s presentations and the ensuing interactive dialogue will provide us a great opportunity to start this discussion.
Thank you.