Vienna/Busan, 1 December 2011 Press release

Waldner: “Private sector as a strong partner in development cooperation”

At the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea, Austrian State Secretary Wolfgang Waldner calls for cooperation with business to mitigate poverty

Busan, 1 December 2011 – “In future it will be possible to secure sustainable development even more successfully through the close cooperation between governments and non-governmental organisations and the private sector. The involvement of businesses in developing and newly industrialised countries is of major importance to achieve economic growth, create jobs and reliable income. At the same time such involvement helps to reduce poverty. Companies are more important than ever before as partners in development cooperation and make an important contribution towards approaching the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. We will need to leverage the opportunities and synergies between businesses and development work even more forcefully in future“, State Secretary Wolfgang Waldner said in his declaration at the fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, held in Busan, South Korea from 29 November to 1 December.

The conference in Busan assessed the implementation of the principles for sustainable development that the international community agreed upon in the Paris Declaration in 2005. These principles include, among others, boosting ownership of the partner countries, better reconciliation of donors and mutual accountability.  Waldner also explained that a global consensus aims to get emerging donor countries such as China, India or Brazil on board as partners in development cooperation and to create synergies with the development agenda of the G-20 states. In future, the international community also intends to achieve better results in its fight against poverty through South-South development cooperation and even closer cooperation between the civil society and the private sector.

“The private sector offers great potential for effective development cooperation and independence of the partner countries. Tailored support to boost the competitiveness of local small and medium-sized companies would be one example”, State Secretary Waldner said. As head of the Austrian delegation at the conference in Busan, Waldner promoted the principle of a much more powerful partnership with the economy, following the example of Austria where cooperation between development work and businesses has brought major tangible successes over many years. Waldner also stressed that the private sector must shoulder the responsibility for advocating the guarantee of human rights, fair labour conditions and environmental protection as well as the fight against corruption.

The conference was attended by 150 delegations with a total of 3000 participants; among them UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria as also several heads of state and government. They shared their views and exchanged opinions on improving the cooperation in development work at the forum in Busan – from the perspective of both donor and partner countries.

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