Facebook Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg announces global campaign on internet connectivity

Facebook Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg announces during the United Nations Private Sector Forum, the launch of a global campaign to support a connectivity declaration, which recognises internet access as an important enabler of human rights.

UNITED NATIONS (SEPTEMBER 26, 2015) (UNIFEED) – Facebook Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg and U2 Frontman Bono, were some of the guests to join U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the United Nations Private Sector Forum 2015 on Saturday (September 26).

The forum, part of the Global Compact initiative, focuses on the role of the private sector in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted on Friday and include a 15-year global plan of action to end poverty, reduce inequalities and protect the environment.

In his opening remarks, the Secretary-General spoke about the importance to mobilise the global business community, which by “realising the Sustainable Development Goals will improve the environment for doing business and building markets. Trillions of dollars in public and private funds are to be redirected towards the SDGs, creating huge opportunities for responsible companies to deliver solutions.”

Chancellor Merkel, who during her morning address at the General Assembly called for a reform of the U.N. Security Council to reflect the redistribution of power across the world, said that the link between sustainability, development and good economic policies was good news for the private sector. She said, “the good news for you, for the private sector, is that sustainable development and a good economy go hand-in-hand.”

Zuckerberg said that internet connectivity was a human right, and announced a global joint effort to launch a campaign to support a Declaration of Connectivity to make internet access a global priority. The Facebook co-founder said, “I am pleased to announce that Facebook is partnering with the One Campaign, organisations, leaders and public figures all over the world, to launch a global campaign to support a connectivity declaration. The declaration recognises internet access as an important enabler of human rights.”

He also said his company would be partnering with the UN to support the millions of refugees escaping war and poverty and gain online connectivity. “We’ll be working with UNHCR to bring internet to refugee camps. Connectivity will help refugees better access support from the aid community and maintain link to family and loved ones, and Facebook is in a unique position to help maintain this life-line,” Zuckerberg said.

U2 Frontman and Philanthropist Bono, also took to the stage to speak about the need for the private sector to bridge the gap of economic inequality. The Irish singer said, “I am late to realising that you know, it’s you guys, it’s the private sector that it’s really, it’s commerce that it’s going to take the majority of people out of extreme poverty and as an activist I almost found that hard to say.”

He also said that today’s consumers are not just seeking “value” when they purchase goods or services, but “values”. Bono said, “It seems that consumerism is changing and people are realising the power they have in their pockets. They vote when they make a purchase. They vote for your brands or they don’t. And these days people are waking up to that power they have in their pockets and they want not just value, it seems that they want values.”

With the support of business and other stakeholders, the UN Global Compact’s governance framework was adopted by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2005, with a mandate to promote responsible business practices and UN values among the global business community and the UN System.