United Nations Reports on

UN Global Compact
June 14, 2002

The United Nations today announced the publication of "Building Partnerships", a comprehensive overview of the growing cooperation between the United Nations and the business community in tackling a range of development challenges in the pursuit of broad UN goals.

The book – a joint initiative of the UN Global Compact and the UN Department of Public Information in cooperation with The Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum – provides an overview of the evolving relationship between the UN and the private sector, ranging from traditional procurement and consultative arrangements, which have been in place since the founding of the UN in 1945, to the new types of innovative partnerships that have emerged in recent years and become a hallmark of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's office.

"Governments today understand that they can't do it all, that a society's goals can only be realized through the cooperation and partnership of a broad range of actors, including the private sector, civil society and other groups", said Mr. Annan. "The doors of the United Nations are open as never before to the dynamic constellation of non-state actors".

The book, authored by Jane Nelson, showcases the many ways in which the UN is working with the private sector in providing sustainable solutions to a host of global challenges – from enterprise development and increasing access to education, health, water, energy, information technology and capital, to conflict prevention and support for human rights and governance.

"Although many people think of philanthropic engagement when they think of UN-business partnerships, such engagement is only one element of an increasingly rich and layered set of relationships", said Nelson, Director of policy and research for the London-based The Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum. "The new forms of partnership mobilize a wide range of business resources, competencies and networks".

The book, which provides more than 150 examples of UN-business partnerships, highlights several initiatives that illustrate how the UN is working with the private sector on projects of increasing magnitude and scope. They include:

· The Global Compact. Launched by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in July 2000, the Global Compact brings companies together with UN agencies, labour, non-governmental organizations and other civil-society actors to foster action and partnerships in support of nine principles in the areas of human rights, labour and the environment. Since its launch, several hundred companies have announced their participation in the initiative. (www.unglobalcompact.org)

· The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI). A coalition of UN bodies, governments, foundations and pharmaceutical companies, GAVI provides immunization services to ensure that all children, however poor, have equal access to vaccines. (www.vaccinealliance.org)

· Business Partners for Development. Led by the World Bank (a specialized agency of the UN), Business Partners for Development includes more than 120 companies and other groups focusing on the needs of countries and communities in several areas, including natural resources; water and sanitation; youth development; and road safety. (www.bpdweb.org)

· The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Task Force. Constituted by the Secretary-General in 2001, the ICT Task Force includes UN member states, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and other groups that are working to harness information and communications technology for development. Areas of focus include promoting universal and accessible access to ICT, and assisting member states in implementing ICT for development strategies. (www.unicttaskforce.org)

"These and other examples illustrate how business can be part of the solution in making progress on broad goals agreed upon by UN member states", said Georg Kell, Executive Head of the Global Compact. "The partnerships testify to the effectiveness of the Secretary-General's approach in opening up the United Nations and making it relevant in the 21st century".

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