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Guidelines and Recommendations for Global Compact Local Networks

What is a Global Compact Local Network?

Global Compact Local Networks are cluster of Global Compact participants who come together to advance the Global Compact and its principles within a particular geographic context. They perform increasingly important roles in rooting the Global Compact within different national, cultural and language contexts, and also in helping to manage the organizational consequences of rapid expansion. Their role is to facilitate the progress of companies (both local firms and subsidiaries of foreign corporations) engaged in the Compact with respect to implementation of the ten principles, while also creating opportunities for multi-stakeholder engagement and collective action.

Global Compact Local Networks determine their own internal governance arrangements and activities. However, as per the decision of the VI Annual Local Network Forum in Bonn, Germany, each Global Compact Local Network is required to sign an annual Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Global Compact Office confirming authorization to use the name "Global Compact" as part of the networks name and to use the Global Compact Network logo in connection with the Network's activities. The annual reconfirmation is based on the understanding that the Global Compact Local Network will continue to engage in activities that are consistent with the purposes and objectives of the Global Compact, namely:

  • Commit to the principles and practices of the Global Compact. This includes the ten principles themselves, the practice of learning by doing, dialogue, partnership and striving to bring together other stakeholders; 
  • Hold a minimum number of events/activities annually;
  • Display a willingness to actively support efforts by participants to develop a Communication on Progress;
  • Proactively manage and protect the integrity of the Global Compact initiative and develop capacity to find solutions to dilemma situations involving participants in the network;
  • Produce an annual activities report;
  • Identify a person to liaise with the Global Compact Office on day-to-day issues related to the running of a GCLN, and; Nominate a person authorised by the GCLN to act on behalf of the Local Network at the Annual Local Networks Forum and in the management of the Network logo.

Key Documents

*The Annual Memorandum of Understanding between the Global Compact Office and a Global Compact Local Network replaces the policy document on network governance entitled What is a Local Network? (pdf)


Creation and Development of Global Compact Local Networks

  • To create maximum momentum and avoid that any relevant partners be left out, those interested in creating a network should contact the Global Compact Office in New York and local UNDP, ILO, UNEP, OHCHR, and UNIDO Offices. They should also make a special effort to involve the local affiliates of the IOE (see http://www.ioe-emp.org/) and of the ITUC (see http://www.ituc-csi.org/). 
  • It is important to include companies from the start, to create ownership and to get some companies to champion the Network. Ideally, Global Compact networks should be initiated and rooted in the corporate sector with some companies championing its cause. Besides business, networks can include a variety of stakeholders such as business associations including ICC National Committees, GC participating companies, trade unions, CSR organisations, universities, business schools, state ministries, local UN offices, development agencies, foundations, NGOs working in human rights, environment and development. 
  • Special care should be taken that SMEs and their local umbrella organisation be part of the network. Depending on local circumstances, the potential benefits of membership by SMEs needs to be made clear at the outset, emphasizing the voluntary character of the Compact. 
  • Before taking action, the purpose and priority tasks of the new network should be discussed. Consultations should take place with other interested individuals and organisations to determine the value a network could add under the given business climate, social circumstances and political situation. In developing and transition countries it is also useful to meet with development agencies to explain the role of the private sector in development. 
  • Networks are advised to have a small steering committee representing organizations and companies of solid standing and reputation in their country, region or sector.
  • Steering committee members should have a sound understanding of the Global Compact philosophy and work to implement the ten principles in a spirit of competence, respect and integrity without pursuing commercial interests.
  • A small secretariat funded by contributions of network participants can be put in place (however, no fundraising for other purposes under the UN name is allowed without authorization by the Global Compact Office).
  • Networks are encouraged to set up their own website and link to www.unglobalcompact.org, to facilitate communication with participants, with other networks, and with New York. The Global Compact Office will advise and support networks on IT issues. 
  • As important as individual networks are, they do not have an exclusive right to deal with Global Compact issues within a country, region or sector. The UN Global Compact is an open network, accessible to anyone willing and able to embrace the ten principles. 

Recommended Local Network Activities

Global Compact Networks chose the activities deemed useful to advance the Global Compact principles in a given country, regional or sector context:

  • Act as a country or regional Global Compact Platform, assisting companies with the implementation of the ten Principles and the preparation of the annual "Communication on Progress". 
  • Be a country, regional or sector platform for Dialogue on issues related to the ten principles, responsible corporate citizenship and the advancement of the eight UN Millennium Development Goals. Networks are encouraged to contribute to global dialogue events and discuss results and implement recommendations of global dialogue events within the local network. 
  • Be a country, regional or sector platform for Learning related to the Global Compact. Encourage participating companies, to develop case studies and send examples to the GC Office. Contribute to local learning by organising country, regional or sector learning events, and/or establishing a learning forum in local language(s). 
  • Motivate participating companies to develop Partnership Projects to contribute to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals. 
  • Serve as a Global Compact Outreach Mechanism, to get the support of additional companies by organising outreach events. 
  •  Identify and Discuss Emerging Issues related to globalisation, particularly the challenge of promoting inclusiveness and social responsibility by all participants involved (networks may also help mediate cases of controversial company behaviour). 
  • Act as Contact for government entities dealing with human rights, labour, environment, anti-corruption, development, and liaise with civil society organizations (universities, NGOs) working in the fields of corporate responsibility and development. 
  • Liaise with other Global Compact networks and with the GC Office in New York on Dialogue, Learning, Partnership Projects, Outreach, Communications, for mutual knowledge exchange.

Role of the Global Compact Office vis-a-vis Local Networks

The Global Compact Office plays a supportive role during the creation of a Global Compact country, regional or sector network, on:

  • Tool provision: The Global Compact Office together with the five UNGC Core Agencies (i.e. OHCHR, ILO, UNEP, UNDP and UNIDO) has set up a Task Force to review guidance, quality aspects and tool provision to networks (and companies). Networks will be regularly reminded of the existing tools and will be informed about new tools available for large companies and for SMEs.
  • Information flow to networks: Inform networks through regular communications about all relevant news. Supply information and training material to networks and companies, taking into account differences in culture, language, resources and infrastructure.
  • Information flow from networks:The GC Office is currently working to offer an easily accessible contact and content data base for networks on the central website, with the opportunity for networks to post documents directly and update their own information. Besides this, the GC Office will continue to display all important network news prominently on the central website.
  • Support on Dialogue and Learning: The Outreach/Networks Unit to make sure that "Global Compact Global Dialogue" and "Global Compact Learning" continue to include and actively support networks in their respective field of engagement and that they be invited to regional and global events.
  • Visits to networks: Each network should be visited once every two years by a Global Compact Office staff, or a GC UN core agency staff, to offer support and stay in touch.
  • Regional network meetings: Global Compact Networks of a Region (e.g. Latin America, Africa, Arab Region, South Asia, Central Asia, East Asia, North America) are encouraged to meet every other year to make personal contacts, discuss and share knowledge on issues specific to the Region.
  • Liaise with other Global Compact networks and with the GC Office in New York on Dialogue, Learning, Partnership Projects, Outreach, Communications, for mutual knowledge exchange.
  • Global network conferences: Organised by the Global Compact Office, a global conference of network representatives may be held every other year, on topics of upcoming relevance and to assure coherency.
  • Motivation : The GC Networks Unit will support networks to stay motivated. Motivating factors can be: The value added by the network for business; national and international connections among peers provided by the network; the network as a good source of information; knowledge sharing; to learn about and discuss subjects relevant to companies; to provide for a sense of belonging to a global UN Initiative.



Walid Nagi
Head, Local Networks

(Last Update 3 November 2014)