Annan urges UK business leaders to back Global Compact, AIDS fund

Annan urges UK business leaders to back Global Compact, AIDS fund

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Addressing a large group of business leaders from the United Kingdom, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today appealed for corporate support for two important initiatives - the global fund to fight the AIDS epidemic and the Global Compact venture aimed at enlisting corporations and the civil society to tackle the challenges of globalization.

"You can play an almost revolutionary role," the Secretary-General told the group of 75 top corporate leaders in London, as he invited them to contribute to the Global AIDS and Health Fund. HIV/AIDS affects business, he argued. It causes costs to expand, markets to shrink and contributes to political instability. He called on the companies to support their employees and their families by providing voluntary testing and counselling on AIDS.

Mr. Annan also called for corporate support for the nine principles of the Global Compact for the voluntary respect of core standards on human rights, labour relations and the environment.

"I can tell you that quite a lot of companies, some big companies, have embraced the Global Compact and have changed their rule books for their companies' branches around the world to embrace the Compact," the Secretary-General told the audience during a question and answer period.