(Geneva, 3 October 2008) – On 1 October, the Global Compact Office, IBLF and UNDP brought together senior business executives with UN staff from a selection of United Nations (UN) Programmes, Funds and Agencies, to discuss how the UN System and its various entities work, and how companies and the UN System could work better together.
More than 30 representatives from business participated, including KPMG, InBev, Nestle, Siemens, Accenture, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, IKEA, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Credit Suisse.
Many companies are increasingly seeing the value of working with the UN but find it difficult to navigate the UN System. Over the past decade, partnerships between the private sector and the UN have increased significantly, producing innovative solutions across a broad spectrum of local and global initiatives and laying foundations for greater engagement.
At the meeting, UN representatives briefed business participants on how their work fits within the UN System and provided examples on current partnerships with business in the areas of healthcare, education, poverty reduction, job creation, humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
The discussion revealed a desire and need from all parties to get more actively involved and to partner while recognizing both the benefits and challenges that come with a partnership approach.
“One strong message that came out of the meeting was a call for improved communication on both sides” said Jane Nelson, IBLF’s Director of Business Leadership & Strategy, who moderated the discussion.
Business representatives asked for clearer guidance from the UN to partnering options geographically, using business-relevant themes, as well as for the UN to help strengthen the business case and benefits of engagement, with the UN. One specific proposal was to produce a two-way guide for how companies and UN agencies can better approach each other.
“These steps will make it easier to partner with the UN, but as companies we equally need to be much clearer on what we want from working with a UN agency” said Richard Hamilton of KPMG.
UN Global Compact Office