Opening Remarks at UNDP-DiDi Forum on Innovation and Responsibility for Sustainable Development

Aug 8, 2017

UNDP China COuntry Director Agi Verez delivers opening remarks at the Forum

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon.

On behalf of UNDP China, it is my great pleasure to address you all today at the UNDP-DiDi Forum on Innovation and Responsibility for Sustainable Development. I would like to express our warmest gratitude to Didi Chuxing for co-hosting this Forum in support of sustainable development.

Almost two years ago, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched by the United Nations. The interlinked peace and security, development, and environmental challenges our world is facing call for new approaches to human and sustainable development.

To achieve these universal, bolder, and more transformative Goals, we need leadership, commitment, talent, and innovation to drive their implementation. In addition, because of the scope and ambition of the SDGs, governments alone will not be able to achieve them.

In the business world, there is a growing understanding that it is no longer enough for companies to concern themselves only with short-term profits because an unsustainable future can damage long-term prosperity.

UNDP believes that the private sector will play an indispensable role in current and future sustainable development. It is clear that the SDGs not only identify where we have to be in 2030 to create a sustainable world, they also outline new markets and opportunities for companies all over the world.

There are countless opportunities for business to contribute to the implementation of the SDGs through commitments to inclusive business models, seeking shared values and commitments to sustainable ways of operating, from which the impact will be very positive.

Businesses have the responsibility, the capacity and the motivation to be the driving force in achieving the SDGs. Those that understand this challenge and take action will be a step ahead.

In May, UNDP and Didi Chuxing, the world’s leading mobile transportation app, launched an initiative to provide accessible chauffeured car services for people in need including individuals with disabilities in China.

The cooperation is a step forward towards calls for all members of society to create an accessible and equal traffic environment for persons with disabilities, and help raise awareness of disability inclusion in China.

At UNDP we strongly advocate for rights of persons with disabilities and these vehicles provide convenient and reliable transportation for a group often left behind. We hope these services can help advocate for disabled groups in China and build a more inclusive society for all in line with “leaving no one behind”.

The project has shown great potential, and we look forward to continuing working alongside DiDi to facilitate the App, removing physical and informational barriers for its users, providing services to more people in need including people with visual and hearing impairments.

Women’s empowerment and promotion of gender equality are two other factors which UNDP believes are crucial to accelerating sustainable development, as they can produce multiplier effects across all other development areas.

Since 2000, at UNDP, together with our UN partners and the rest of the global community, we have made gender equality central to our work and have seen some remarkable successes. The UNDP Gender Equality Seal (GES) Programme aims to improve gender equality in public and private enterprises, based on the targets set out under the 2030 SDGs.

The GES seeks to eliminate gender inequalities in the workplace while improving the lives of all employees and their families. UNDP will cooperate with the Chinese government to set up fundamental standards on gender equality to be adopted by enterprises registered with the GES programme.

We welcome Didi’s cooperation for promoting the GES programme, driving progress towards achieving key SDGs including SDG 5, promoting Gender Equality and women’s leadership in the workplace and a healthy work-balance. Through cooperative action we hope to target action towards SDGs 8 and 17, which aim to promote decent work, stronger economic growth and foster deeper partnerships for collaboration towards achieving long-lasting sustainable development.

We are pleased to see that close cooperation with Didi has culminated in the launch the “Together Public Welfare & Charity Programme”. This is a long-term strategic cooperation with Didi and One Foundation which aims to integrate corporate social responsibility into Didi’s core business strategy in the long run.

Through this newly established platform, UNDP can support Didi in promoting initiatives that enhance public and industry awareness of the SDGs, and create initiatives that achieve real value for sustainable development across all sectors.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very optimistic that by working together with DiDi and other private sector partners, we can drive towards achievement of the SDGs, ensuring no one is left behind.

With the great experience and expertise assembled here today, I am confident that this Forum will lead to a very constructive exchange to which I’m looking forward to.

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