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GC’s 4th International Learning Forum Held in Ghana

(24 November 2006, Accra) —The UN Global Compact’s 4th International Learning Forum was held in Accra, Ghana from 22 – 24 November 2006, with approximately 200 participants from business, civil society, academia, government and labour in attendance. The first such meeting to be held in Africa, the Learning Forum aimed to further empower meeting participants to act as agents of change within their organizations and communities by advancing the Global Compact’s principles. With a strong presence of African corporate and civil society stakeholders, the Learning Forum also sought to contribute to the success and growth of the Global Compact across the continent.

The forum’s opening ceremony – chaired by Nana Dr. Samuel K. B. Asante, President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and Former Director of the UN Centre on Transnational Corporations, New York – featured: Honourable Allan Kyerematen, Ghana’s Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and President’s Special Iniatives; Ms. Joyce Aryee, CEO of Ghana Chamber of Mines and Chairperson of the Ghana Steering Committee of the Learning Forum; Mr. Christophe Bahuet, UNDP Resident Representative A.I.; Mr. Klaus Leisinger, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on the Global Compact and CEO of the Novartis Foundation and Mrs. Mary Robinson, President of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative.

The three-day Learning Forum included a mix of formal issue-specific sessions and “open learning space” where participants convened their own small discussion groups on dozens of questions that, if answered, would help advance the corporate citizenship agenda. The formal sessions allowed forum participants to discuss case studies in five areas: conflict prevention and peace-building; company-community relations; collective action against corruption; business, human rights and labour rights; and partnerships for peace and development. The “open space” discussions covered a broad range of questions, including: What do we do about companies that do not “care”; How do I convince my CEO to join the Global Compact; How can business deal with small arms proliferation in fragile states; How can the corporate citizenship agenda better reach small and medium sized companies; What needs to be done to reach a continuous implementation of the MDGs; Should there be national policies on corporate citizenship; and How can we support Chinese companies that want to act responsibly in Africa?

Another highlight of the meeting was the launch of Africa Leads, a book of vividly illustrated, inspirational stories on globally responsible business being carried out across Africa. The book was developed by the Global Compact’s Regional Sub-Saharan Office and Unisa Press. To develop Africa Leads, more than 1,000 contributions were collected from across the continent. These were narrowed down to 87 published stories that tell of inspirational leaders who are putting ethics at the centre of their thoughts and actions; education initiatives that are thriving against all odds; and businesses that are creating economic and societal progress in a globally responsible and sustainable way. A detailed meeting report will be forthcoming. Further information is available at: www.ungc-learningforum.org .

For more information on the Global Compact’s 4th International Learning Forum, please contact:
  • Ellen Kallinowsky, GC Regional Sub-Saharan Office (+27 12 429 3701, kallinowsky@un.org)
  • Carrie Hall, Global Compact Office, (+1 917 367 5232, hallc@un.org)