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UN Global Compact
|Org type||framework and mechanism|
|Head||Georg Kell, Executive Director|
|Established||26 July 2000|
The United Nations Global Compact, also known as Compact or UNGC, is a United Nations initiative to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation. The Global Compact is a principle-based framework for businesses, stating ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. Under the Global Compact, companies are brought together with UN agencies, labour groups and civil society.
The Global Compact is the world's largest corporate citizenship initiative and as voluntary initiative has two objectives: "Mainstream the ten principles in business activities around the world" and "Catalyse actions in support of broader UN goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)."
The Global Compact was first announced by the then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in an address to The World Economic Forum on January 31, 1999, and was officially launched at UN Headquarters in New York on July 26, 2000.
The Global Compact Office is supported by six UN agencies: the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; the United Nations Environment Programme; the International Labour Organization; the United Nations Development Programme; the United Nations Industrial Development Organization; and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The Global Compact was initially launched with nine Principles. June 24, 2004, during the first Global Compact Leaders Summit, Kofi Annan announced the addition of a tenth principle against corruption in accordance with the United Nations Convention against Corruption adopted in 2003. This step followed an extensive consultation process with all Global Compact participants.
Businesses should uphold:
The Global Compact is not a regulatory instrument, but rather a forum for discussion and a network for communication including governments; companies and labour organisations, whose actions it seeks to influence; and civil society organizations, representing its stakeholders.
The Compact itself says that once companies declared their support for the Global Compact principles "This does not mean that the Global Compact recognizes or certifies that these companies have fulfilled the Compact’s principles."
The Compact's goals are intentionally flexible and vague, but it distinguishes the following channels through which it provides facilitation and encourages dialogue: policy dialogues, learning, local networks and projects.
The first Global Compact Leaders Summit, chaired by the then Secretary-General Kofi Annan, was held in UN Headquarters in New York on June 24, 2004. It aimed to bring "intensified international focus and increased momentum" to the Global Compact. On the eve of the conference, delegates were invited to attend the first Prix Ars Electronica Digital Communities award ceremony, which was co-hosted by a representative from the UN.
The second Global Compact Leaders Summit, chaired by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, was held on 5–6 July 2007 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. It adopted the Geneva Declaration on corporate responsibility.
Marking the 10th anniversary of the Global Compact's launch, the Global Compact Leaders Summit 2010 occurred on 24-25 June 2010 in New York. On the occasion, the Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership identifying leadership criteria linked to implementation of the ten principles, efforts to support development objectives, and engagement in the Global Compact was released. The document was supported by Fondation Guilé.
The UN Global Compact – Cities Programme was launched in 2002 by the then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. It was formed as an urban-focused component of the Global Compact with its International Secretariat located in Melbourne, Australia. The aim of the Cities Programme is to improve urban life in cities throughout the world.
The formation of the Programme goes back to early 2001 when the City of Melbourne proposed that cities as well as corporations should be allowed and encouraged to engage the UN Global Compact. Melbourne argued that this would engender a clear statement of a city's civic, cultural and corporate commitment to positive change, as well as motivating participation in international dialogue. The Global Compact office in New York accepted the proposal and Melbourne became the first city to engage the Global Compact in June 2001. It provided an opportunity for the ten Principles of the Global Compact to be translated into meaningful outcomes within a cities (rather than just organizations).
In April 2003 under the directorship of David Teller, a simple framework called the Melbourne Model was developed that entailed more than just signing onto the Ten Principles. It begins by drawing the resources of government, business and civil society into a cross-sector partnership in order to develop a practical project that addresses a seemingly intractable urban issue. In 2007, the current Director, Paul James, took this methodology further by integrating the partnership model with a four domain sustainability framework called 'Circles of Sustainability'. For example, Porto Alegre uses this model in tackling the problem of developing infrastructure and utilities for slum dwellers. Milwaukee uses in this model to develop its water sustainability program.
In 2007, the International Secretariat moved from the Committee For Melbourne to the Global Cities Institute at RMIT University, itself affiliated with UN-HABITAT. There, projects associated with city-based responses to global climate change and globalization have become increasingly important. The Melbourne Model has been further elaborated, with a sustainability indicators program developed as a way of assessing and monitoring progress.
The United Nations Global Compact Network in Australia was first established in 2009 with the assistance of a steering committee that was drawn from the Australian business community and stakeholder groups. In 2010 the Network was formally incorporatedas the United Nations Global Compact Network Australia Limited at the same time as elections were held for the inaugural board of directors. In 2011 the Global Compact in Australia announced that it had established two business led leadership groups dealing with Human Rights and anti-corruption. The UNGCNA draws its funding directly from members and member based activities which is the opposite to many networks who rely in part on government funding. Businessman Matthew Tukaki was elected as Austraila's first United Nations Global Compact Network Representative in 2010. Matthew Tukaki is formerly the Head of Drake Australia and currently CEO and Chairman of the Sustain Group, all of whom are Signatories to the United Nations Global Compact.
The Syria initiative aims at enhancing civic engagement and corporate social responsibility of private sector by promoting the ten principles of the UN Global Compact as well as forging partnerships between private sector organizations, public sector institutions and civil society. This initiative is a partnership between the Syrian Government represented by the State Planning Commission and the UNDP Country Office in Syria. It was launched under the patronage of the Head of State Planning Commission and in the presence of the Deputy Chairperson of the UN Global Compact, in July 2008.
The Syria Local Network has 26 businesses, 5 NGO’s, and 5 federations of commerce and industry. It was displayed among 10 selected ones from around the world in the Global Compact Sixth Annual Local Networks Forum. The Syria story was called a “leadership case” and the Syria Network growth ratio was ranked first among the global top ten in 2008. available at 
The UNGC National Advisory Council has been formulated and held its founders’ meeting on October 15, 2008, with the participation of leaders from the Syrian private sector, international corporate representatives, local and international civil society organizations, UNDP, the Syrian Government, media and education sectors.
Many civil society organizations believe that without any effective monitoring and enforcement provisions, the Global Compact fails to hold corporations accountable. Moreover, these organizations argue that companies can misuse the Global Compact as a public relations instrument for "bluewash", as an excuse and argument to oppose any binding international regulation on corporate accountability, and as an entry door to increase corporate influence on the policy discourse and the development strategies of the United Nations.
An informal network of organizations and people with concerns about the UN Global Compact, called Global Compact Critics, levels a variety of criticisms at the Global Compact:
The Alliance for a Corporate-Free UN, which no longer exists, was a campaigning organization of several international NGOs, led by Corpwatch, which highlighted weaknesses in the principles underlying the Global Compact.
The Global Compact has been criticized by several senior UN officials and advisers. In December 2008, Maude Barlow, senior adviser on water issues to the President of the United Nations General Assembly, called the Global Compact "bluewashing". Other vocal critics have been David Andrews, senior adviser on Food Policy and Sustainable Development, and Peter Utting, deputy director of UNRISD.
Leaders of the tribe Ayoreo Indians in Paraguay have written to the UN Global Compact saying they are "concerned and frustrated" by the inclusion in it of a controversial Brazilian ranching company. The company, Yaguarete Porá, was charged and fined for illegally clearing the Ayoreo’s forests, and concealing evidence of uncontacted Ayoreo living there. The Ayoreo have asked that it be expelled from the Global Compact. Stephen Corry, Director of the international indigenous rights organization, Survival International, has said, "This makes an utter mockery of the UN Global Compact. If the UN doesn’t make sure companies displaying its logos abide by the rules, such initiatives become entirely meaningless. Yaguarete should be forced to leave the compact immediately."
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