23.07.2010 - Article
UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2010, New York
Switzerland's contribution honoured at anniversary ceremony
The UN Global Compact, the largest global initiative for corporate responsibility, honoured an SDC employee at a summit meeting in New York. The meeting, part of the Global Compact's tenth anniversary celebrations, was attended by a Swiss delegation led by Martin Dahinden, Director of the SDC. More than 1,000 participants renewed their commitment to align their business practices with ten principles in the areas of, among other things, human rights and the environment.
|The UN Global Compact
In the light of increasing globalization and the call for new forms of (development) cooperation, the then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented his visionary idea of a Global Compact at the 1999 World Economic Forum in Davos. Officially launched on 26 July 2000, this initiative seeks greater involvement of the private sector in support of the UN's goals and values. As a value-based platform, the Global Compact requests that companies align their strategies and business activities with the ten principles of the Compact in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. As the primary agent driving globalization, business can help to ensure that markets, commerce, technology and finance advance in ways that benefit economies and societies everywhere. In the meantime, the Global Compact has developed into the world's leading corporate responsibility initiative with more than 8,000 participants drawn from the private sector, labour and civil society organizations. From the beginning, Switzerland has been one of the leading pillars of the Global Compact.
The UN Global Compact Leaders Summit (see Box) was held in New York from 24 to 25 June. This event for participants from businesses, civil society organizations and labour takes place every three years and is a crucial element of support for the initiative. The meeting provides a setting in which to discuss the progress achieved in the intervening years among a broad circle of participants and if necessary to strategically reposition the Global Compact. In addition, the Summit offers an ideal and very visible platform for participating companies to renew their commitment to the Global Compact.
The event in New York was devoted exclusively to the Global Compact's tenth anniversary celebrations. Interest was correspondingly high, with around 1,200 participants from more than 135 countries in attendance.
Active participation of the Swiss delegation
The official Swiss delegation was led by Martin Dahinden, Director of the SDC, and included a representative from Political Affairs Division IV and from the SDC. The Swiss representatives took the opportunity to participate actively in proceedings. This took the form on the one hand of co-organizing a very well-attended Summit session on human rights, in which Martin Dahinden took part in a panel discussion, and on the other of concise statements on the occasion of the Ministerial Meeting and a media conference to accompany the launch of guidelines on responsible business activities in areas of conflict, which were co-financed by Switzerland.
Award for SDC employee
At the official banquet ten people were honoured for special services to the Global Compact. One of the awardees was Olivier Chave, head of the Global Institutions Division of the SDC; Martin Dahinden accepted the award on Olivier Chave's behalf. The award highlights not only Olivier Chave's close personal involvement in the Global Compact since its launch, but also the important role played by Switzerland in implementing and institutionalizing the initiative.
Special event for government representatives
For the first time, the Summit included a special event for government representatives on the eve of the Leaders Summit itself (the Ministerial Meeting of 23 June). In this way the Global Compact honoured the special role played by states/governments in implementing the initiative.
Additional Information and Documents
- How can Governments promote business efforts that benefit society everywhere?
Statement by Mr Martin Dahinden, 23rd June - New York at UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2010
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