Recap of Business Focused Events at the 76th Annual United Nations General Assembly 2021

StartingUpGood Magazine
4 min readOct 6, 2021


A moment of silence is held during the 1st plenary and opening meeting of the seventy-sixth regular session of the General Assembly. Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

There were plenty of business focused events held during the 76th annual meeting of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). Like last year, many of these events were held virtually, enabling us to continue to access their content long after the event’s conclusion. And also like last year, many of the conversations revolved around the pandemic’s impact on progress towards the SDGs.

SDG Overview

A quick review to level-set: the United Nations designed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be a framework for countries around the globe to collectively work towards — and report on — a better and more sustainable future across multiple dimensions of development areas.

As of the most recent revision in December 2020, the SDGs consist of 17 Goals, 169 Targets and 247 indicators (231 of which are unique). Currently, nearly 1.7 million observations are on record in the SDG database. Unfortunately, the consistency and completeness of each indicator’s reporting varies widely, making comparisons at local and national levels more difficult.

Devex Coverage

Independent news organization Devex once again provided excellent coverage of all things UNGA. As its wrap up article summarized:

Climate and COVID-19. These were the two unmistakable themes of the United Nations General Assembly this year, both taking on a strong sense of urgency as world leaders came together, virtually and to some extent in person, for the annual gathering in New York.

Over three days of programming, the Devex reporting team convened U.N. agency heads, government leaders, development practitioners, and private sector actors to discuss the most effective ways to build back better.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeepers Report

While the Gates Foundation did not host an event this year, it did publish its annual Goalkeepers Report on the progress — or reversal of progress — across the measures of health and prosperity it tracks each year.

The 2021 report highlights that “throughout the pandemic, there have been some marked setbacks as well as some remarkable bright spots. But to stay the course, it is important to remember that progress is possible, but it is not inevitable.”

Numerous side events — held virtually, in person, or a hybrid of both — complemented these conversations and findings.

UN Global Compact’s Uniting Business LIVE

This year, the Uniting Business LIVE virtual event sought to connect the high-level multi stakeholder dialogues of the Private Sector Forum (Day One), grounded local knowledge and implementation strategies in the Young SDG Innovators Summit & Global Impact Forum (Day Two), and partnership and leadership examples of the SDG Business Forum (Day Three), into one inclusive global event.

Seven Heads of State and Government were joined by 34 CEOs, the UN Secretary-General and the heads of 21 UN agencies and civil society organizations at this year’s Uniting Business LIVE. More than 7,000 people registered to attend the three-day online event. Together they committed to drive corporate ambition on climate action and the SDGs as business looks to build back better from COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more about the commitments made:

DAY THREE — SDG Business Forum

All sessions from Uniting Business LIVE can be viewed on its YouTube channel.

Business Fights Poverty Global Goals Summit

All the video recordings and written summaries of the Business Fights Poverty Global Goals Summit, hosted with AB InBev, are available via a complimentary Digital Pass courtesy of Pearson.

Concordia’s 2021 Annual Summit

Recordings from the Concordia Annual Summit can be found on its website. Additionally, Concordia plans to publish its 2021 Annual Summit Report at the end of October, which will feature summaries, next steps, and key quotes.

Check back with us in November for an update on available resources!



StartingUpGood Magazine

Supporting fresh entrepreneurial approaches to do good in the world. Check out our magazine: