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Final Report of Annual Local Networks Forum Now Available

(New York, 9 November 2006) - The final report of the 4th Global Compact Annual Local Networks Forum has been released and is now available for download.

Executive Summary

The 4th Annual Global Compact Local Networks Forum was held on 26-27 September 2006  in Barcelona/Spain, co-hosted by the Global Compact Office and the Barcelona Center for the Support of the Global Compact. The two-day event brought together more than 180 representatives of business, UN agencies, civil society and labour, who serve as focal points for existing and emerging Global Compact Local Networks in more than 60 countries . It was the largest Annual Local Networks Forum so far.

Through its action-oriented approach, this year’s Forum supported the growing role of local networks as “incubators” or catalysts of change on the ground. In several plenary sessions and 14 working group sessions, network representatives identified key challenges and opportunities for their operations and produced a variety of decisions and recommendations for collective action in key areas:

GOVERNANCE

As a key step in the implementation of the Global Compact’s governance framework, the Forum agreed on the “Annual Local Networks Forum Terms of Reference” which outline the Forum’s role in the initiative’s governance framework and clarify the relationship between the Forum and the other entities in the framework.

Further to the Terms of Reference, an Annual Local Network Forum (ALNF) Coordination Group was formed, including representatives from each geographic region: The members of the Coordination Group are :

  • Dr. Olumide Ajayi and Ellen Kallinowsky (Africa); 
  • Anthony Sampson (Western Europe);
  • Natasa Kalauz (Eastern Europe & CIS);
  • Mohamed El-Kalla (North Africa and Middle East); 
  •  Flavio Fuertes (Latin America/Caribbean); and
  • Charmine Koda (Asia-Pacific)

With the assistance of the Global Compact Office (GCO), and in consultation with the Local Networks, the role of the Coordination Group will be to draft and approve the 2006 ALNF report as well as to coordinate planning for next year’s Local Networks Forum, which will be held in Monterrey/Mexico within the last two weeks of October 2007. Additionally, the Coordination Group will also coordinate the input from Local Networks in preparation of the 2007 GC Leaders Summit, to be held in Geneva on 5-6 July.

LOCAL NETWORK ACTIVITIES

  • Local Networks can provide a valuable, neutral platform for participants to discuss challenges related to anti-corruption, define concrete collective actions and monitor implementation. Depending on local circumstances, this platform could also include other stakeholders, such as civil society and governments.
  • Participants identified an “untapped potential” with respect to linking financial market trends with activities of Local Networks. Financial markets can be a key leverage point in advancing the GC in general and the work of the Local Networks in particular.
  • Principles and projects were described “as two sides of the same coin”. Local Networks should engage participants in partnership projects that demonstrate a commitment to both the GC principles and UN development objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)
  • GC Local Networks and ISO national mirror committees should look into working together in their efforts to strengthen social responsibility and the formulation of the upcoming ISO26000. This will also ensure that the voice of developing countries is heard.

SUPPORT OF LOCAL NETWORKS BY KEY PARTNERS

  • The effectiveness of UN agency contributions often depends on the extent and consistency of support given by the UN Resident Coordinator and the UN Country Team. There is a need to include Global Compact objectives more explicitly in individual agency programs (especially UNDP country frameworks) and in the work of UN country teams.
  • Both Local Networks and donor governments emphasize the value of “seed capital” rather than greater funding for operational expenses.  Also, “in-kind” support from governments, both local and national (donor and non-donor) can be beneficial to the work of the Local Networks. There is a growing awareness of the need for an international network of donor countries backing networks, as the GC is becoming a local reality in all regions of the world.

LOCAL NETWORKS INTERNAL DEVELOPMENT

  • In contrast to continued outside “subsidies”, matching funds and public-private partnerships were identified as promising tools to ensure network progress and safeguard its multi-stakeholder nature. However, the role of financial and institutional support from UNDP (and the other UN agencies) in the first and second stage of network development must be clarified, specifically for less developed countries. The GCO should pay attention to proposals which pool the needs of networks in a region and should similarly adopt a strategy of supporting promising networks in their early stages of development.
  • Failure to submit a COP is not only an issue that confronts small and medium-size enterprises, but also many of the larger participants. Local Networks play a key role in helping companies develop their Communications, and it was consequently suggested that the COP process become part of a Local Network’s work plan.
  • There is a need to generalize models like those presented in “Raising the Bar”. But a performance/management model for the GC has to be inspirational and non-prescriptive. Companies participating in the GC have recognized the need for new, innovative management systems as a crucial requisite to continuous progress in the implementation of the ten principles. 
  • Given that a large number of participating companies in the Global Compact are small and medium-size companies (SMEs), the GC should place increased emphasis on supporting them in their efforts to internalize the ten principles and thereby advance their performance.

Contact:

Matthias Stausberg
UN Global Compact Office
stausberg@un.org
+1-917-367-3423