UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, launched a business partnership for sustainable urbanisation to encourage collaboration with the business community. The theme of the partnership’s first meeting on Making cities better places to live, work and do business was attended by over 200 delegates from international business companies, Foundations, and civil society organisations. Delegates came from around the world, including India, Pakistan, China, Poland, Armenia, Brazil, East Africa, Europe and the United States.
Companies represented include BASF, Coca Cola, the Bujumbura Garbage Company, and Cisco systems East Africa, construction and infrastructure companies.
The aim of this first stakeholder meeting is to rethink business and financial models to help accommodate the billions of people living at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
The two-day meeting, on the eve of the 21st session of UN-HABITAT’s Governing Council, marked a new drive by the agency to strengthen cooperation with the private sector though UN-HABITAT’s global network of partners.
Addressing the delegates, the manager of social foundation, donations and childcare, BASF (Germany), Mr. Wolfgang Frosch said his company had a strong and well established Corporate Social Responsibility programme that runs globally. He cited the company’s relief efforts in the aftermath of the 1999 earthquake in Turkey and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
“We work with partners like UN-HABITAT which has good competencies in sustainable urbanisation and post-disaster relief experience,” said Mr. Frosch.
Meanwhile, the Vice President of Coca Cola in India, Mr. Deepak Jolly said that partnership models required a lot of buy-in from the different stakeholders at different stages of a project. Citing Coca Cola’s experience in assisting in the post-tsunami relief programme in south Asia, he said speed, mobilisation and management were key to ensuring effective relief delivery.