UNGA 2021: Why Does It Matter to Startups?

UNGA2021 Why Does It Matter to Startups

The United Nations General Assembly works on the global challenges faced by the world today.

Every year, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meets in a regular session, beginning on the third Tuesday of September at the UN headquarters in New York City. The platform brings together leaders from around the world to discuss specific issues through dedicated agenda items and adopt respective resolutions. The theme for the 76th session of the UN GA debate is “Building Resilience through hope to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalize the United Nations.” In 2020, the event had taken a virtual route due to the pandemic. As a result, the world leaders submitted pre-recorded video statements for the 75th session.

The UNGA event provides entrepreneurs an opportunity to hear from all global leaders seeking solutions to tackle threats, challenges, and crises. The platform continues to support startups in applying their innovation to solve social and environmental challenges. Here are a few other reasons why UNGA 2021 matters to startups.

Aligning with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In 2015, the United Nations established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as Global Goals. The UN  calls on all countries to tackle pressing issues in a global partnership. It recognizes that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. The SDGs present a unique chance for startups to align themselves with global goals and fill the gap through innovation and entrepreneurship. Young minds can take great responsibility in developing solutions to achieve the goals. In 2020, B Lab and UN Global Impact launched the SDG Action Manager tool. The free tool enables businesses from any sector to act on the SDGs. It helps businesses learn about, manage, and directly improve their sustainability performance. 

Pushing for technology & innovation

This year, world leaders at the UN General Assembly touched upon the role of technology and innovation in driving economic growth. In a speech to the UNGA, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted how India contributes to global development through various transformational programmes.

“India is a trustworthy democratic partner for the global economy. You will be happy to see the advances made by India to tackle climate change. We have a strong startup economy. We are also in the process of building the world’s largest green hydrogen hub,” he said.

Creating more jobs 

Job creation is crucial for economic growth. A year after the devastating pandemic, millions of workers of all ages worldwide are facing unemployment. According to a report titled Asia–Pacific Employment and Social Outlook 2020: Navigating the crisis towards a human-centred future of work, the economic backlash of the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out some 81 million jobs in 2020. The extensive impact of the crisis resulted in surging underemployment, demanding millions of workers to work at reduced hours or no hours at all. 

Last Tuesday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced the creation of a new Global Accelerator for Jobs and Social Protection in collaboration with the International Labor Organization (ILO). The accelerator aims to create at least 400 million jobs, primarily in the green and care economies, by 2030. Additionally, it will ensure social protection coverage by 2025 to 50 percent of people, currently unprotected by any measures. The UN-led accelerator will push the global economy through job creation in countries with high unemployment rates.

Header image courtesy of Pexels

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