Twenty-one companies and organizations from the Asia-Pacific region joined the Global Compact at a special ceremony on 13 May during the Asia-Pacific Business Forum 2005 held in Bangkok.
Georg Kell, Executive Head of the Global Compact, Watana Muangsook, Thai Minister of Industry, and Kim Hak-Su, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) officiated at the ceremony.
The Asia-Pacific Business Forum 2005, organized by UNESCAP in collaboration with the Royal Thai Government and the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking of Thailand, attracted around 300 participants from more than 20 countries, as well as senior UN and government officials. The two-day Forum was entitled “Changes, Challenges and Opportunities for Asia and the Pacific”, and included an in-depth discussion of various corporate social responsibility issues.
In addition, the Forum featured two special roundtable sessions on “Getting Asia and the Pacific ready for the new arena of globalization” and “Coping with economic effects of regional natural disasters.” A number of subsequent breakout sessions concentrated on improving the climate for doing business an on corporate social responsibility with a special emphasis on the contribution of the Global Compact to the region.
High-level guests attending the Forum included Mr. Erskine Bowles, UN Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, who addressed the roundtable, as well as Watana Muangsook, Minister of Industry, Thailand; Hamid Yar Hiraj, Minister of State for Commerce of Pakistan; Bharat Thapa, Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, Nepal; Narayana N.R. Murthy, Chairman, Infosys Technologies Ltd, India; Tan Sri Dato’ Azman Hashim, Chairman, AmBank Group, Malaysia; and Dr. Victor Fung, Group Chairman, Li & Fund, Hong Kong.
The 2005 Forum took place back-to-back with the UNESCAP’s annual Commission Session, set for 12-18 May 2005. Initiated in 2004, the UNESCAP Asia-Pacific Business Forum aims to provide a platform for dialogue among business, government and civil society on how the public and private sectors can work together to ensure sustainable economic and social development in the region.