(New York) – Highlighting the evolving nature of strategic engagement between the United Nations and the private sector, and opportunities for new forms of United Nations-business cooperation for achieving development goals, the UN Secretary-General’s report on enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners, in particular the private sector, was presented to the UN General Assembly’s Second Committee today.
Citing previous recommendations for ensuring more effective and transparent partnerships while overcoming key operational challenges and protecting the integrity of the United Nations, the biennial report concludes that many UN entities have “learned to move from transactional partnership models towards more systematic, strategic and innovative approaches which have advanced the goals of the United Nations without new funding requirements from Member States.”
The UN-Business website and revised “Guidelines on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Business Community” were put forth as positive examples which help to strengthen the coherence, transparency and effectiveness of UN-private sector engagement. Coordinated by the Global Compact Office, the Private Sector Track introduced at the Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Istanbul also represents a major institutional milestone that has helped to more effectively integrate the private sector into key United Nations summits, such as the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.
The Secretary-General’s reports states that “The United Nations is uniquely positioned to act as an agent of change for encouraging companies to build on ad-hoc corporate social responsibility towards more strategic participation in solving global challenges. The convergence of interests between the public and the private sector has provided an opportunity for exploring innovative models for collaboration and for achieving impact and scale.”
New developments in this realm include the concept of “transformational partnerships” which address systemic issues across sectors and geographies; innovative financing models for scaling up fundraising and advocacy activities; better utilization of women as drivers of sustainable development; and enhanced models for disaster preparedness and response.
Nevertheless, challenges remain which must be addressed. The Secretary-General cautions that “Efforts are needed to: further strengthen the enabling environment for partnerships; identify and replicate successful partnership models for achieving impact and scale; improve partner selection and engagement processes as well as capacity-building and training of United Nations staff; share best practices and lesson learned; and educate United Nations staff on the benefits of evaluation and impact assessment.”
Several representatives from UN Member States – including Indonesia (on behalf of ASEAN), the European Union, Switzerland, Brazil, Senegal, Bangladesh and China – provided affirmative statements on the role of the private sector and the contribution of the UN Global Compact.
- “In its 10 years of existence the UN Global Compact has become the most successful and strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to align their operations and strategies with core UN principles and values,” said Counsellor M. Pio Wennubst of Switzerland.
- “Brazil attributes great importance to the mandate of the Global Compact as a facilitator for engagement with the private sector and as a promoter of principles inspired by the overall objectives of the United Nations in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and combating corruption,” said Secretary Fábio Farias of Brazil.
- Wang Qun of the Chinese Delegation stated that “the UN should play a greater role in prompting enterprises to implement the Global Compact. Fulfilling social responsibilities by enterprises brings win-win results for both enterprises and the society.”
Today’s presentation is expected to contribute to a General Assembly resolution providing further support for the Global Compact’s mandate. The report was developed in compliance with General Assembly Resolution A/RES/64/223, requesting the Secretary-General to submit a report on the implementation of the proposed modalities for enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners.
The presentation to the Second Committee also represents a positive closure to a report developed by the Joint Inspection Unit, an external review body of the UN System, titled “United Nations Corporate Partnerships: The Role and Functioning of the Global Compact“. The Secretary-General’s Note on the JIU report makes general comments and responds to specific recommendations in the study. Among other things, it states that many of the recommendations had already been implemented or were in the process of being implemented at the time of publication of the report. The study also anticipated a number of improvements that the Global Compact Board and the Global Compact Office were in the process of making during the period covered by the report or shortly thereafter.
“We welcome the JIU report and appreciate a number of the robust recommendations that it makes regarding steps that Member States, the UN Secretariat and the Global Compact Office could take in order to increase the effectiveness of the initiative, many of which have already been implemented,” said Georg Kell, UN Global Compact Executive Director.
Ambassador Papa Louis Fall of the Joint Inspection Unit stated, “With the encouragement of the GA, the Global Compact advances implementation of UN values as well as corporate sustainability through the Global Compact Local Networks. They are present in 100 countries promoting collective action, sharing best practices through management education, dialogue and partnerships.”
- The final Report of the UN Secretary-General on “Enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners, in particular the private sector” will be available shortly.
- Download Statements from Member States
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