Global Policy Forum

The Global Compact’s Next Stage of Development

United Nations Global Compact
November 9, 2004

The Global Compact is entering its next stage of development – from a phase of entrepreneurial growth to one of increasing organizational maturity. With a network of nearly 2,000 companies and other stakeholders, operating in more than 70 countries, the Global Compact is ready to move to a new level of performance. In this next phase, the Compact must further leverage the strength of its voluntary approach to achieve greater impact and deliver maximum benefits to all participants, while also enhancing the accountability and governance of the initiative.

To this end, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has asked the Global Compact Office to undertake an inclusive consultative process with the following objectives:

1) Improve the value proposition so that participation itself has meaning and significance.

2) Gain a clearer understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the actors involved.

3) Implement a new governance structure that empowers local networks, increases participant ownership and creates an integrity process to maintain the long-term credibility of the Compact.

4) Ensure financial sustainability with a business model that generates funds from governments, participants and foundations to support expanded activities at the global and local level.

5) Ensure that the comparative advantages of the United Nations – its convening power, legitimacy, and global reach – are fully leveraged in the new organization.

In this endeavor, we are committed to an inclusive consultation process so that participants and stakeholders – the true "owners" of the initiative – directly shape the outcomes.

The approximate timeline of key deliverables and dates is as follows:

December 2004: The first draft of a White Paper proposing a new business model and governance structure will be shared with governments, businesses, labour and civil society groups, and other stakeholders, for review, comment and input. The consultation process begins.

April 2005: The Global Compact Office will convene a meeting of participants and stakeholders to seek their views on the White Paper.

June 2005: Recommendations stemming from the consultation process will be presented to the Secretary-General.

June 2005: Based on these recommendations, the Secretary-General will present his vision of the Global Compact's next stage of development, and ask all participants to join this effort.

September 2005: The Global Compact Office will begin to implement the new business model and governance structure.

Already, work has begun with respect to the evolving role and responsibilities of Global Compact country networks. On 4-5 November in London, the UK Foreign Office and the Global Compact UK Network hosted a conference that brought together the focal points of more than 30 Global Compact country networks. The Second Global Compact Networks Conference explored a range of topics, including a governance system for networks and the role networks can play in broadening and deepening the implementation of the Global Compact's principles by companies around the world.

At the conference:

  • Networks agreed to join an effort to better define the role of country networks in the overall governance of the Global Compact. Two working groups were established whose outputs will directly shape the future of the organization.

  • Networks shared experiences and practices in advancing the Global Compact and its principles at the local level.

  • It was recognized that every network has its own characteristics and approach to furthering the Global Compact's objectives.

  • Networks agreed to play an active role in the collection and analysis of participating companies' Communications on Progress.

  • Networks agreed to explore the building of their capacities to address dilemma situations, as well as the development of governance structures in order to ensure quality of engagement and to maximize growth and impact. As this entire process moves forward, we urge all participants to become actively involved. This will ensure that the Global Compact's next stage of development has the full backing, support and "ownership" of participants and stakeholders. We are confident that this process will ultimately lead to improved quality of engagement and greater positive impact.

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