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Chile first in Latin America to launch Global Compact, UN agency reports

Chile first in Latin America to launch Global Compact, UN agency reports

Chile is the first Latin American country to launch the Global Compact, a United Nations initiative that calls on the private sector to respect labour rights, the environment and human rights to make globalization work for all the world's people, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) announced today.

According to UNDP, more than 350 participants from government, civil society and the private sector joined in a seminar on corporate social responsibility last week in Santiago to start implementing the Compact, the brainchild of Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

UNDP Chile and Fundación PROHumana organized the seminar and have promoted the Global Compact over the past 18 months through round tables with business, civil society and government. Marta Maurás, Director of the office of the UN Deputy Secretary-General, and Sirkka Korpela, Director of the UNDP business partnerships division, presented the compact as a framework for sustainable growth and good citizenship through committed corporate leadership.

"Global markets are changing in response to the new expectations of consumers and citizens around the world," said Ms. Korpela. "The growing movement in favour of corporate social responsibility is an integral part of these changes." The Global Compact aims to support these changes and stimulate action, she said, particularly through sharing experiences and learning from best practices.

UNDP and PROHumana, with support from several partners, have set up Plazanueva, the first Spanish-language web site dedicated to corporate social responsibility, carrying information on activities in Chile and worldwide. UN Volunteers helped design the site's volunteering window, through which individuals can help civil society groups in areas such as project design, computer literacy and web site design and maintenance.

A next step is to follow up on the suggestion by Chilean business leaders to set up a learning network on corporate social responsibility, UNDP says. The network would include a service centre to support initiatives, as well as tools such as criteria for corporate social responsibility activities, an inventory of activities and documentation of best practices.