Opening Remarks by Beate Trankmann, UNDP Resident Representative

June 28, 2019

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia


Distinguished Members of Parliament, Ministers, UB city leaders,

Esteemed members of the business community,

Ladies and Gentlemen,    

Imagine, for a moment, that we are in the year 2030. Now, ask yourself, what does Ulaanbaatar look like? A high-tech, cosmopolitan capital, with blue skies, and a modern transport system? Or a city that continues to struggle with choking pollution, poor connectivity and traffic jams – all of which make it unattractive for investments in the long run.

Well, we can answer that critical question right now - by how we act, and how we invest. 

Which is why I am delighted to be here to discuss the role of the private sector in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The SDGs aim to ensure a society that includes everyone, and a planet that can sustain everyone, by the year 2030. This is vital for Ulaanbaatar, where almost half the country’s population resides, and where two thirds of Mongolia’s GDP is produced.

Already, the SDGs are fast-changing how we live, consume, produce and invest.

Companies have the power, knowledge, funds and indeed the moral obligation, to step up for the SDGs. They also have increasingly compelling business reasons to do so. 

I am sure that these will guide today’s discussions, specifically, on projects offering innovative solutions for the city’s development, transport and economic zones. This includes renewable energy, health, sustainable housing, green vehicles and other areas.

Because, in the face of unprecedented challenges - from climate change, to energy transformation, and commodity price volatility - ‘business-as-usual’ is not enough. It’s estimated that meeting the SDGs will take annual investments of 5 to 7 trillion US dollars. And, UN has calculated, two thirds of those funds and technologies, must come from the private sector. This calls for fundamental shifts in how business is done. And for companies that embrace change, there are promising rewards.

Responsible businesses make business sense. Because the environment and economy are not in competition; rather, the former enables the latter. Besides reducing future costs of going green, sustainable companies boost their bottom lines by cutting costs - for example, in energy savings. They protect their supply chains, by safeguarding resources for future use. They motivate and retain employees, by sharing their values. They also open up new markets, as well as improve their brand image, marketing impact and sales.

According to the World Economic Forum, companies making sustainable innovations are growing by roughly 15 percent a year, while many of their rivals remain flat. So, at this pivotal stage in Mongolia’s recovery, sustainable products and projects are, in fact, one of the quickest ways to grow your city, or company.

To support sustainable investments, UB and its development partners must engage the private sector. Public-private partnerships are one of the most effective ways to strengthen that collaboration, and ensure the viability of joint ventures, if the right rules are in place, as part of a stable policy environment.

The SDGs also offer a universal framework for investment. Traditional investors, banks, pension fund holders, and others, all have the ability to back the SDGs, to the tune of trillions of dollars. So we must also transform finance.

Development finance is evolving worldwide. And so must funding for UB. Already, the Government of Mongolia is exploring new opportunities to mobilise and manage public and private funds. This is key for ensuring crucial social and environmental investments for our future, within public budget constraints. 

To do that, UB – and in fact Mongolia – must provide predictable and stable conditions and policies for investments. This includes removing barriers to investment, while protecting public interests, through regulation. The UN and UNDP stands ready to support all stakeholders in partnerships for the SDGs. UNDP is already working with UB City on the carrying out of its SDG roadmap, as well as promoting job creation and the enterprising abilities of young people. We look forward to hearing your ideas for cooperation, as well as what else you need to work with UB towards the global goals.

I believe that this creative capital, and its competitive companies, can work together and achieve tremendous things, for the people of UB, and life on earth. 

Thank you all, and I look forward to fruitful discussions!

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