CTG Global’s CEO Alice Laugher spent time at the UN’s 71st General Assembly in New York to be part of the discussion on how the private and public sectors can work together in making the Sustainable Development Goals a reality.
Over a couple of rainy days, Alice headed to the UN Headquarters in New York for the Private Sector Forum 2016 to be part of the discussion around ‘Business and the 2030 Agenda: Securing The Way Forward’.
She was in good company; amongst the guests were HE Ban Ki-moon, Rt Hon Justin Trudeau and Ewan McGregor, companies such as Unilever and UPS, as well as smaller organisations such as CTG who have expertise in delivering humanitarian success.
The question that they tackled at the roundtable session led by Alice was how can governments, the UN and the private sector work together to build peace and stability and make sure that nobody is left behind? And how can businesses support achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (of which there are 169 targets under 17 SDGs) while reinforcing economic, social and political stability?
There were a lot of startling numbers at play, with Alice describing the statistics as ‘alarming’. There are currently 1.5 billion women, men and children, living in protracted crisis or in areas experiencing social and economic breakdown. The economic impact of violence is 13.3% of the world GDP, as peace has declined globally over the last decade. Another sobering statistic raised at the events is that the average length of time a person spends as a refugee is 21 years.
Alice met a fellow attendee who could attest personally to the impact of war and displacement. Sana Mustafa is a Syrian refugee who has been in the US for two years, after arriving for a six-week business studies course in 2013 and then not being unable to return home to her family. Her mother and sisters fled to Turkey. Her father was arrested in Syria and hasn’t been seen or heard of for three years. Sana has received a full scholarship at Bard College and in her spare time is an activist with a specific focus on refugees, youth, women’s empowerment and social development. (Watch a video interview with Sana here.)
‘She is a remarkable and courageous woman. I felt humbled to meet her,’ says Alice. ‘And to meet and listen to so many other people who are committed to helping make a change.’
Peace is a mammoth task and the road to action can seem like a winding one but Alice believes that summits like this can only be a positive action. ‘It’s great that the UN is looking at businesses to align their strategies with the 169 targets of the 17 SDGs. Even though they were designed for government they can also be implemented by companies. CTG is proud to be one of the many companies dedicated to helping create sustainability for the future.’
Alice is on the steering committee for the UAE Global Compact Network leading the task force for the Business for Peace Programme throughout the region. She is also a proud advocate for the Women’s Empowerment Principles.