Annan stresses ‘vital’ UN partnership with business to advance responsible globalization

23 October 2006

More than ever before, the United Nations is making the business world, as well as civil society and the academic community, “vital partners” in advancing international peace and development, but much more remains to be done, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in a message to a forum of business leaders.

More than ever before, the United Nations is making the business world, as well as civil society and the academic community, “vital partners” in advancing international peace and development, but much more remains to be done, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in a message to a forum of business leaders.

“Just 10 years ago, the relationship between the United Nations and the private sector was burdened with mistrust,” he told the forum, ‘Business as an agent for world benefit – management knowledge leading positive change,’ organized by the Case Western Reserve University and the UN Global Compact in Cleveland, Ohio, US.

Mr. Annan stressed the importance of the Compact, the initiative he launched six years ago to advance good corporate citizenship and responsible globalization in such areas as combating corruption, safeguarding the environment, ensuring social inclusion and building markets.

“Today, UN engagement with business can be seen in countless day-to-day initiatives around the world encompassing most of the pressing problems of our time, from poverty and hunger to HIV/AIDS and water supply,” he said in the message, delivered by UN Global Compact Executive Director Georg Kell.

“By aligning corporate activities with UN goals, the Compact’s stakeholders have generated improvements in governance and built up the capacities of suppliers and small enterprises. And by advocating universal principles as a core part of corporate strategies and operations, the Compact has sought to make global markets more sustainable and inclusive,” he added.

“But there remains much to do. Globalization remains an imperfect process. Business continues to face tremendous pressure to uphold its social responsibilities. There is a pressing need to sustain the momentum of the corporate responsibility movement. And the academic community has an important role to play in this effort.”

 

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