Global Policy Forum

Briefing on the German Resolution

Alliance for Corporate-Free UN
September, 2000

The German delegation has introduced the Resolution "Towards Global Partnerships," to the General Assembly plenary.

This resolution is meant to show support for the Secretary General's Global Compact with corporations. The Secretary General has moved forward on the Global Compact without government support for the past I V2 years. We feel it is important for you to be aware of the widespread and profound concern regarding the Global Compact and related corporate partnership initiatives at the United Nations.

The Global Compact is made up of nine principles derived from international human rights, labor and environ- mental agreements, that corporations agree to abide by. The nine principles themselves are worthy. However, the Global Compact has serious flaws.

  • First, there is no monitoring and no enforcement. Companies can sign on to the Global Compact, but there is no independent way to determine whether they are abiding by its principles.

  • Second, the rhetoric surrounding the Global Compact makes it clear that the UN itself supports the ideology of globalization as it exists today. The Compact is meant to soften the negative consequences of globalization, but not to question its basic direction. Such an endorsement of the corporate role in economic globalization is not appropriate for the United Nations.

  • Third, the language of partnership in the Global Compact may lead down a slippery slope toward commercialization. For example, related initiatives foresee the use of corporate logos on UN projects.

  • Fourth, many of the corporations that shared the podium with Kofi Annan when the Global Compact was launched last July, are the same ones that civil society and local communities are campaigning against in their struggles for environmental protection and sustainable development. For the UN to embrace these corporations and the industries they represent, is a betrayal of "we the peoples."

  • Finally, the Global Compact and the voluntary partnership model may undermine the long-term goal of a binding legal framework to control corporate behavior. Such a framework is under discussion within the Sub-Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, and has widespread support among NGOs and some governments.

    Corporations do not have the same interests and goals as the United Nations. Their resources must be brought to the aid of sustainability - but sustainability must not be redefined to mean "good for big business." We believe that rather than supporting the Global Compact, the 55th General Assembly should ask the Secretary General to re-assess the Global Compact, its partners, and the Secretariat's overall approach to UN-corporate partnerships. The mission and integrity of the United Nations are at stake.

    Partial List of NGOs opposing the Global Compact

    Berne Declaration (Switzerland)
    BAYERwatch (Germany)
    Brazilian Institute of Economic and Social Analysis
    Centro de Derechos Humanos y Medio Ambiente (Argentina)
    Chile Sustentable (Chile)
    Corporate Europe ObservatM (Netherlands)
    Ecoropa (France)
    Environmental Rights Action/Friends Of The Earth (Nigeria)
    Essential Action (U.S.)
    Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy (U.S.)
    Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and No. Ireland)v Global Exchange (U.S.)
    Greenpeace International (The Netherlands) Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (U.S.)
    Institute for Policy Studies (U.S.)
    International Baby Food Action Network
    International Forum on Globalization (U.S.)
    International NGO Committee on Human Rights in Trade and Investment (India)
    International Rivers Network (USA)
    International South Group Network (Zimbabwe)
    Lokayan and International Group for Grassroots Initiatives (India)
    Movimiento Autoridades Indigenas de Colombia (Colombia)
    Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) (Nigeria)
    Organic Consumers Association (U.S.)
    Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (U.S.)
    Project Underground (U.S.)
    Rural Advancement Foundation International (Canada)
    South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (India)
    Tebtebba Foundation (The Philippines) -Third World Institute (Uruguay)
    Third World Network (Malaysia)
    Transnational Institute (Netherlands)
    Transnational Resource & Action Center/CorpWatch(U.S.)
    Women's Environment and Development Organization (U.S.)


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