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Secretary-General, in Moscow, hails launch of network for ethical business

Secretary-General, in Moscow, hails launch of network for ethical business

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launches Russian Federation Global Compact Network
Continuing his visit to Moscow today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon enthusiastically welcomed the launch of a Russian network for the Global Compact, the United Nations initiative for social responsibility in private enterprise, before holding a raft of meetings with political and religious leaders.

“By launching the Russian Global Compact Network, you have sent a powerful signal that the bottom line can no longer be separated from key goals of global citizenship: peace, development and equity,” Mr. Ban told the group of 30 top Russian business executives who participated in the launch.

“And you have demonstrated that Russia’s businesses are ready and eager to claim their place in the international economy,” he said.

The Global Compact pledges participating businesses – now numbering some 3,600 in over 100 countries – to observe principles regarding human rights, labour rights, environmental sustainability and the fight against corruption.

At today’s launch, Mr. Ban maintained that growth of the Compact in Russia would not only help address a range of global problems, but have significant benefits for Russian industry as well.

“It can help manage risks, boost productivity, increase operational efficiency, and build trust and confidence in Russian companies – at home and abroad. It can help improve corporate governance and workplace relations.

“And its emphasis on sound business practices can promote stronger, better and more sustainable brands – an indispensable component of success in the global economy,” he said.

Mr. Ban’s next stop was the State Duma, or legislature, where he met with First Deputy Chairman Oleg Morozov on the role parliaments can play in addressing conflict, poverty, disease, climate change, the illegal trade of small arms and gender balance.

Visiting Moscow University, the Secretary-General told students he expected Russia’s engagement with global issues would keep pace with the challenges and opportunities of the future.

“I am convinced you can play a role even greater than you once did – a role commensurate with your tremendous size, wealth and global reach,” he said, enumerating the range of contemporary challenges, from peacekeeping to AIDS to climate change.

He then met with leaders of the Russian Orthodox and Catholic churches, as well as Muslim and Jewish representatives, before an assignation with Orthodox Patriarch Alexiy II in Moscow’s oldest monastery.

According to his spokesperson, in those meetings he discussed the Alliance of Civilizations, the importance of tolerance, human dignity and social justice, the protection of holy sites in Kosovo and Islamophobia.

Mr. Ban will hold a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov this evening, following their tête-à-tête meeting.