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The MDGs were adopted in the context of increasing global insecurity, and poverty was perceived as a key factor fuelling it. The role of business, albeit important, was seen as no more than complementary to the obligation of the international community to meet the Goals. Consequently, the private sector was called upon primarily to ‘make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications’. Recent global crises – rising food prices, climate change, the credit crunch, social unrest – point to a markedly different relationship between businesses and the MDGs. Many companies are inextricably linked with these various problems, able either to exacerbate or to relieve them. Businesses are no longer merely complementary to the efforts of the international community to meet the MDGs. They are instrumental to their achievement.

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