(Santa Cruz de La Sierra/Bolivia, 14 November 2006/gco) – The Global Compact was formally launched in Bolivia on 14 Noevmber, during the III Foro de Responsabilidad Social Empresarial organized by the Chamber of Industry, Commerce and Tourism. Thirty-five Bolivian companies of the mining, forestry, industrial, manufacturing, finance and banking sectors, subsidiaries of multinational companies, as well as academic institutions and civil society organizations committed themselves to the ten Global Compact principles. In the ceremony, the new participants handed over their letter of support to Dr. Manuel Escudero, Head of Global Compact Networks and to Mr. Alfredo Marty, Deputy Resident Representative of the UN system in Bolivia.
According to Alfredo Marty, “Bolivia is one of the countries in most in need of this type of initiatives. Democracy it is still weak in Bolivia, as a result of the fact that society has not reached an adequate degree of social and civic development in order to solve the problems of poverty, inequality and lack of social justice. The Global Compact reinforces local citizenship, and builds bridges between civil society and business in order to make possible a sustainable development. “
Dr. Escudero emphasized that the Global Compact is a way of engagement where business demonstrate that “value for the company and for society can go hand in hand”. Concerning the specific situation in Bolivia, Dr. Escudero pointed out that “the current trend of political and social change in the country should not be seen by business as a threat but as a huge opportunity in order to legitimize the role of the private sector vis-à-vis Bolivian society”. In this context, he suggested three basic attitudes to business participating in the Global Compact: act always first with their own example; partner with civil society in projects where the role of business as good corporate citizens can be best illustrated; and establish open and frank dialogue with public authorities. “There are many ways open to earn the license to operate in Bolivia,” Dr. Escudero added. ”However, he concluded, it is up to this new group of modernizing business that today have decided to commit themselves to good corporate citizenship in front of the Bolivian society, to decide their own agenda. The Global Compact is, from now on, co-owned by the UN and by participating Bolivian companies and other institutions”.
As a next step following the launch of the Global Compact, a Promotion Committee is being set up as a coordinating body of the GC Bolivian Network. Its purpose will be to decide on future collective activities and to increase the number of companies and institutions participating in the Global Compact.
For further information, please contact the Focal Point of the Bolivian
Global Compact Network, Mr. Alvaro Bazan at firstname.lastname@example.org