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Conference Report Issued: CEO Water Mandate

(New York, 3 April 2008) - The United Nations Global Compact Office and the Pacific Institute today issued the report of the inaugural working conference of The CEO Water Mandate, which took place on 5-6 March 2008 at UN Headquarters in New York City.

Launched in July 2007 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, The CEO Water Mandate is designed as a learning and action platform for companies and other stakeholders committed to making water sustainability a priority. Endorsing business leaders acknowledge that in order to operate in a sustainable manner, and contribute to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals, they have a responsibility to make water-resources management a business imperative, and to work with governments, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, and others to collectively address the emerging global water crisis.

The working conference brought together senior representatives from numerous corporations, as well as policy leaders from civil society organizations, UN agencies, and specialized water institutes. (See report for list of attendees.)

Among the key insights and perspectives offered in the report:

  • Anticipatory business water strategies should include: innovating to significantly increase product efficiencies; investing in the restoration of ecological systems that affect water flows; and engaging in collaborative strategies and partnerships to maintain water resources over time.
  • The CEO Water Mandate offers a unique platform for partnerships with peers, civil society organizations, UN agencies, and other stakeholders to address water sustainability.
  • Comparing current local practices underscores the challenges of setting corporate-wide standards for implementation due to  varying hydrological, cultural, and political environments around the world.    
  • The issue of water must be approached from the perspectives of access, sanitation and hygiene.    
  • The CEO Water Mandate should further develop the reporting aspect of the initiative in order to fully demonstrate transparency and accountability, while creating a learning repository of best and emerging practices.

"The CEO Water Mandate is a very young initiative, and this conference was extremely valuable in getting the perspectives and recommendations of a range of civil society organizations and UN agencies", said Gavin Power, head of The CEO Water Mandate at the UN Global Compact Office. "At the same time, companies candidly shared their work and emerging practices. It is clear from the conference that enormous opportunities exist with respect to forging partnerships between companies and UN agencies, NGOs, governments and other stakeholders. Addressing this crisis is urgent, and must be a collective effort".

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Download the conference report.

Access The CEO Water Mandate.

Learn more about the Pacific Institute.


Mr. Gavin Power
UN Global Compact