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Annan ‘encouraged’ by German companies’ response to Global Compact

Annan ‘encouraged’ by German companies’ response to Global Compact

In Berlin today, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed the response of German companies to his Global Compact initiative, which seeks to promote respect for international principles on the environment, human rights and labour rights.

“I was very encouraged to see the progress being made, the seriousness with which the German companies, trade unions and NGOs [non-governmental organizations] take this initiative,” Mr. Annan told reporters following a meeting on the Global Compact with representatives from all three groups. “We’ve all promised we’ll move forward to work even harder to apply [the Compact’s principles] not only to institutions in this country, but around the world.”

Workers from participating companies – seven of which attended the meeting – were “very, very happy to be working for something positive, something ethical, something that is socially responsible and gives something back to society,” he added.

According to a UN spokesman travelling with Mr. Annan, the Secretary-General told participants at the meeting that he had launched the initiative to make globalization sustainable by underpinning international markets with strong social and ethical foundations, and called on those present to begin practicing good global citizenship.

Wrapping up his three-day official visit to Germany, the Secretary-General also met with Edmund Stoiber, Minister President of Bavaria, who is challenging Gerhard Schroeder for the Chancellorship in elections later this year. They discussed the post 11 September global security environment and current attempts to get UN inspectors back into Iraq, and also reviewed efforts to restart Middle East peace talks, according to the spokesman.

The situation in Iraq was also on the agenda during a meeting held between Mr. Annan and Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Germany's Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, the spokesman reported. She laid out Germany's strategy for the International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in Mexico later this month, as well as the country’s approach to reconstruction aid in Afghanistan – an effort she said would focus on the first 100 days for maximum impact.

As he was leaving Germany, the Secretary-General discussed Afghanistan and the situation in the Middle East with Kamal Kharrazi, the Foreign Minister of Iran, who happened to be at Frankfurt Airport at the same time as Mr. Annan.