Leading Executives Meet With Secretary-General in Fresh Boost to Strengthen UN-Business Partnerships

Jan 27, 2012 12:30 PM ET

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) Davos – January 27, 2012 – Top executives of companies engaged in Global Compact LEAD, a platform for advanced corporate sustainability practices, met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and heads of UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes in Davos today to discuss ways of boosting both extent and impact of business partnerships to advance UN goals. 

The meeting comes on the heels of the Secretary-General’s earlier announcement to create a new Partnership Facility to strengthen business partnerships across the entire UN System. Creating such a facility was one of the key recommendations outlined in a Global Compact LEAD Task Force report titled Catalyzing Transformational Partnerships Between the United Nations and Business. The facility specifically aims to accelerate partnerships at the country level.

“Partnerships are crucial to forging solutions in the 21st century,” the Secretary-General said in his opening remarks. “Across the UN, private sector engagement is increasingly recognized as a strategic way to deliver profound change.”

Leading by example, several Global Compact LEAD signatories used the opportunity to announce new partnerships between their organizations and UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes.

German life science corporation BASF and Canadian natural resource company Teck have joined forces to jointly develop affordable zinc fortification and supplementation solutions, with the goal of reducing zinc deficiency among 100 million people in developing countries by 2015. According to the World Health Organization, zinc deficiency is one of the leading risk factors associated with diseases such as diarrhea, contributing to the deaths of an estimated 800,000 people each year. The partnership directly supports the UN's Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, which brings together over 100 organizations and governments committed to work together to fight hunger and under-nutrition.

US chipmaker Intel announced its new partnership with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) to advance the quality of care provided to mothers and newborns. The collaboration will focus on strengthening the skills of midwives, community health workers and the healthcare workforce in general by utilizing open source/no-cost software and technical assistance provided by Intel and training content provided by UNFPA. This partnership also contributes to the UN's Every Woman Every Child campaign, which aims to improve maternal and child health and save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015. 

“Innovative partnerships like these are our best hope to provide transformative solutions to global challenges,” said Georg Kell, the Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. “Strengthening the partnership agenda is a huge opportunity to move the UN-business relationship to true scale and lasting impact."

Launched in 2000, the United Nations Global Compact is a both a policy platform and a practical framework for companies that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. As a multi-stakeholder leadership initiative, it seeks to align business operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to catalyze actions in support of broader UN goals. With more than 6,800 corporate signatories in more than 135 countries, it is the world’s largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative.