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The president of CEOE, Antonio Garamendi; the undersecretary of the United Nations and executive director of UNITAR, Nikhil Seth; the Ibero-American General Secretary, Rebeca Grynspan; the Secretary of State for Commerce, Xiana Méndez; and the president of the Board of Directors of the Regional Center of the Private Sector in support of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, Felipe Molina, today opened the 8th Business Forum on Innovation and Sustainability, held at the CEOE headquarters. They analyzed both elements within the framework of the 2030 Agenda, as a dialogue platform for decision-making, mainly in the Ibero-American region and, in the case of Spain, as partners in a sustainable Europe on the 2030 horizon.

The Forum was divided into two panels: "The 2030 Agenda as a tool for innovation and business decision-making" and "Sustainable Innovation: The great challenge for Ibero-American companies", during which the Presidents and CEOs and important Spanish companies and Ibero-Americans, economists and presidents of financial institutions analyzed sustainability and innovation, as key factors to make the 2030 Agenda, not a challenge, but a business opportunity. In addition, a dialogue was held on the rule of law and security for investment, which involved the member of the European Parliament, José Ignacio Salafranca and the president of the Ibero-American Business Foundation (FIE), Josep Piqué, and who moderated the advisory Governance in UNDP, Maria Eugenia Boza.

Private sector

The president of CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, stressed that both business organizations and companies play a crucial role in an increasingly competitive environment, in which societies must be sustainable in economic, social and environmental terms. He also pointed out that the 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs are "our guide in this path and a transversal reference in the incorporation of these in the business strategy of the companies and in new models of corporate governance". We must accept sustainability as an opportunity, he said, and therefore, we must innovate in new business models.

Garamendi explained that to contribute to the SDGs, it must be thought that innovation is not only technological but also social and that it must be inclusive and generate global sustainable growth. In this regard, he stressed that it is crucial that value chains are sustainable and, therefore, an indisputable factor in this area, he added, are public-private partnerships so that the projects of companies can be successfully developed. He also stressed that innovation will be key in the new budgetary period of the EU and the SDGs will be aligned transversally in this context.

The President of the Board of Directors of the Regional Private Sector Center in support of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, Felipe Molina, emphasized that the Regional Center recognizes the importance of the private sector in the contribution of the 2030 Agenda, serving as platform that links strategic actors in a permanent dialogue.

Molina recommended several key elements to achieve the SDGs, which consist of turning efforts into programs that generate value and are aligned with the business strategy and purpose; work in the generation of trust with the communities and local authorities where it operates, from a healthy business perspective and recognizing the role and responsibility of each stakeholder; and develop corporate governance structures, capable of adapting and prospectively analyzing global trends, in such a way that entrepreneurs can interact in new economic, social and market contexts.

Sustainability and innovation

The Secretary of State for Commerce, Xiana Méndez, stressed that sustainability must be considered as a competitiveness tool, applicable in any field, from those normally considered as traditional – agri-food, textiles and clothing – to sectors of a technical or technological nature directly linked to The sustainability.

As for innovation, "from the State Secretariat of Commerce we are focused on promoting the innovation-internationalization binomial, by supporting sectors of high technological and scientific content," he said.

Secretary General Iberoamericana, Rebeca Grynspan, highlighted the commitment of the Ibero-American company with the 2030 Agenda. In fact, she mentioned the future celebration of the Ibero-American Summit in Andorra at the end of 2020, which has as its theme "Innovation for development sustainable". In this regard, he said that the Ibero-American community really took on the commitment to sustainable development at the last summit held in Guatemala in November 2018, attended by more than 500 businessmen.

Grynspan stressed that the 2030 Agenda recognizes the private sector as the co-responsible for sustainable development, since it depends largely on the well-being of companies. The Ibero-American General Secretary considered that greater social inclusion is required in the workplace and stressed that "to produce sustainably, we must produce better", which implies greater innovation and sustainability. He spoke of universalizing access to basic services, such as water, infrastructure, mobility or digital connectivity; promote a more inclusive and quality education; encourage more transparent institutions; and promote public-private partnerships.

Implementation Agenda 2030

Undersecretary of the United Nations and Executive Director of UNITAR, Nikhil Seth, reported that although there has been improvement in some areas related to the SDGs and are being incorporated into the national policies of many countries, there is still a long way to go. Seth explained that more attention must be paid to the most vulnerable people, spending more intelligently, strengthening institutions, creating stronger local administrations, and better developing scientific technology and innovation, focusing on digitization.

In addition, the Undersecretary of the United Nations explained that companies are part of the 2030 Agenda and have a strong impact on society. "They are vital for social inclusion and to promote education, to develop new technologies that reduce gas and waste emissions and to provide financing, among other factors," he said. In this regard, he assured that business leaders influence great actions and change mentalities, so the time has come to work together to achieve the implementation of the SDGs worldwide.

I Dialogue of Presidents

Prior to the Innovation Forum held today in the CEOE, UN Undersecretary and Executive Director of UNITAR, Nikhil Seth; the president of CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, and the general secretary Iberoamericana, Rebeca Grynspan, inaugurated yesterday the Dialogue of Presidents in the headquarters of SEGIB, to deal with issues such as Corporate Governance, sustainability and global corporate contribution, the 2030 Agenda as an opportunity of positioning for companies and "Leadership in day to day. Game Strategy ". The permanent secretary of CEIB, Narciso Casado, also participated in the conference; the executive director of the Regional Private Sector Center in support of the United Nations SDGs (CR / SP); Diana Chávez, the head of Economy and Business of SEGIB, Pablo Adrián Hardy, and a small number of presidents of companies with operations in Ibero-America.

The Dialogue of Presidents is a space created by the Regional Center to facilitate a platform of interaction between position holders and presidents of companies with operations in Latin America to share experiences and address global trends that impact the private sector, with special attention to innovation and sustainability.

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