[APBF 2015 was organized with support from a wide group of partners and stakeholders including the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) of Thailand, and the Trade and Industry Association of Singapore (TIAS). Along with the International Chamber of Commerce Bangladesh (ICCB), the Pacific Islands Trade and Invest, the Pacific Basin Economic Council (PBEC), the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand (JFCCT), the Greater Mekong Subregion Business Forum (GMS-BF), and the Mekong Institute. APBF’s mission is to provide an effective platform for regional public-private sector dialogue on the role and needs of business in achieving inclusive, resilient and sustainable development. It was first launched in 2004 in Shanghai and over the last decade has evolved as a meaningful regional multi-stakeholder network with a focus on business issues. Previous meetings were held in Almaty, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Kunming and Colombo.]
While asserting that achievement of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will depend greatly on scaling up public-private partnerships, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in her opening remarks at the twelfth Asia-Pacific Business Forum (APBF) 2015 said: “The private sector knows the art of making markets work, managing risks and fostering competitiveness and innovation.”
Emphasizing that Asian businesses have shown their ability to create enduring value for themselves, whilst overcoming adversity in both trying economic times, and with challenging external environments, Dr. Akhtar added: “As we move from the design to the implementation phase of the SDGs, businesses must align their thinking and integrate inclusivity and sustainability into their core values. Through this process, they can drive long-term value creation for their shareholders and stakeholders by developing business models, systems, processes and production chains that manage the economic, social and environmental dimensions in a balanced manner.”
Organized by ESCAP under the theme ‘Driving Growth and Sustainability through Business,’ the Forum held from 1 to 2 November brought together over 300 business leaders, government policymakers, and representatives from civil society and international aid and development agencies to identify opportunities for enhancing connectivity between regional businesses in a more sustainable manner.
H.E. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand said in his keynote address: “Entrepreneurs of tomorrow need to operate businesses that are of high social-value to remain sustainably competitive.” Mr. Pramudwinai added that countries in the region should: “Open up new space for inclusive win-win-win business objectives.
A new book launched at the Forum by the ESCAP Sustainable Business Network ‘Resilient Business for Resilient Nations and Communities,’ highlighted best practices in strengthening business disaster risk resilience and management. The Forum also featured sessions on the new regional economic and financial order, along with harnessing entrepreneurship, technology and innovation for sustainable development.