The UN India Business Forum (UNIBF) is a groundbreaking alliance of India’s key economic influencers, aimed at accelerating India’s growth and achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The forum complements the Government of India’s vision of “development for all”, as well as the global Agenda 2030, and recognises that neither can be achieved without a close partnership of ideas, resources and implementation between the private sector, the government and the UN.
As the driver of India’s phenomenal economic success story, India’s business sector is a major stakeholder for implementing the SDGs in India. Today, the country is one of the most attractive markets for renewable energy, and its ambitious flagship social schemes, such as ‘Housing for All’, offer immense opportunities for smart, low-cost business solutions. Similarly, investing in quality education will enable 122 million new workers to join India’s labour force by 2030, achieve gender equality in India and add an estimated US$7 billion to the GDP by 2025.
As home to one-sixth of humanity, nowhere is the business opportunity more evident or larger in scale than in India.
The UNIBF was launched in Mumbai in 2017, at an event headlined by some of India’s top business leaders, NITI Aayog, and heads of the UN system in India. In a few short months, the forum has turned into a working partnership, ready to implement solutions on the ground.
The UNIBF’s thematic working groups are coming together to address challenges in sectors key to India’s growth, including clean and affordable energy, housing for all, health and nutrition, education and skilling, women’s economic empowerment, and water and sanitation.
At a special session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 192 other world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, committing their countries and the world to achieving 17 SDGs.
The SDGs are a landmark effort towards building a better future. They aim to eradicate extreme poverty, end hunger, make energy accessible to all, accelerate economic growth, improve the quality of education and healthcare, ensure access to safe water, build resilient cities and infrastructure, catalyse innovation, promote sustainable industrialisation, achieve gender equality, and fight climate change, in the next 15 years.
The global agenda calls for a strategic shift in the private sector’s role in catalysing development — creating shared value and going beyond philanthropy and corporate social responsibility alone. It offers a comprehensive growth opportunity for businesses, allowing them to boost prosperity and sustainability while simultaneously ensuring benefits for people, society and the economy. Estimates suggest that the returns on investment in fully implementing the SDGs could be US$30 billion per year. Businesses and governments will together need to focus on instruments such as impact investing to unlock the potential of private capital for the SDGs.
The SDGs are multi-dimensional and interconnected; they can only be achieved through multi-stakeholder partnerships of governments, businesses, financial institutions, philanthropists and civil society. They present an historic opportunity for the private sector to partner in a truly transformational moment in the global economy.
The Government of India is strongly committed to the 2030 Agenda, including the SDGs, as evidenced by the statements of the Prime Minister and other senior Ministers at national and international meetings. For more on SDGs and India’s leading role, click here.
Read more about the UNIBF launch here.
In response to today’s development challenges and in support of government priorities, UN agencies, in collaboration with the forum’s members, have identified a number of key issues and regions and have prioritised the following six areas: