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GC Participants Asked to Support Humanitarian Efforts in China and Myanmar

(New York, 19 May 2008) -- Below is the text of a letter sent electronically to all Global Compact participants on 15 May:

Dear Global Compact Participant,


Recent natural disasters in Asia have resulted in unimaginable suffering and loss. The Global Compact Office is deeply concerned for the millions of children, men and women in China and Myanmar that are in distress.
Current estimates suggest that up to 50,000 people could perish in China’s Sichuan province following a powerful earthquake this week. Approximately 10 million people have been displaced in the province – living in camps that are often lacking proper shelter, food and clean water. In Myanmar, it is feared that the death toll from Cyclone Nargis will exceed 100,000, with at least 1.5 million people severely affected as well.

Disasters of this magnitude require the world’s attention and support. As we have learned from previous catastrophes, particularly the 2004 tsunami in south Asia, the international business community can play an important role in disaster relief and re-building. In the Global Compact spirit of shared responsibility for a better world, I urge your company to consider helping in such times of need.

You may have direct reasons to provide assistance – perhaps your company has operations or business partners in the region, or is capable of supplying needed equipment, medicine or food. Your company and its employees may simply be moved to help fellow citizens of the world. There will be a variety of needs – immediate, medium- and long-term – determined in the coming days, weeks and months. I hope that you will remain alert and stand ready to support the millions of people that need assistance in the aftermath of such devastating events.

The UN, through the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and its humanitarian agencies, is very active in coordinating and providing disaster relief to the affected victims. The following OCHA resources are helpful for finding information on appeals for assistance and ways to provide support: UN Central Emergency Response Fund - CERF (http://cerf.un.org) and ReliefWeb (http://www.reliefweb.int). CERF is the UN’s central donation facility, collecting contributions year-round to help ensure that funds are on-hand to allow for immediate humanitarian relief in emergencies.

We are encouraged by the fact that companies have already begun to donate to the disasters in China and Myanmar through the UN and other organizations. The concern and generosity of the global business community is greatly needed for recovery. Thank you in advance for considering this request.

Yours sincerely,

Georg Kell
Executive Director
UN Global Compact Office