(Dhaka, 26 January 2009) – A Global Compact Local Network was launched in Bangladesh
today, at a ceremony jointly organized by the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI), the CSR
Centre, and the UNDP Dhaka office.
Farooq Sobhan, President of BEI and former ambassador of the Government of Bangladesh, delivered the opening remarks, noting that the occasion marked an important step in the private sector’s journey to become a driver of development. Muhammad Faruk Khan, Bangladesh’s Minister of Commerce, also attended the event and stressed the important role the multi-stakeholder local network can play in the promotion and sharing of best practices in the field of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption.
Soren Petersen, Head of Local Networks in the Global Compact Office, delivered the keynote speech, highlighting the Global Compact’s climate change platform “Caring for Climate” as an initiative of particular importance for Bangladesh. Mr. Petersen urged businesses to address environmental issues in their operations, as Bangladesh is one of the countries most seriously threatened by the impacts of climate change.
Ms. Renata Lok Dessallien, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, emphasized the opportunity the Global Compact presents to the Bangladeshi private sector to adopt and establish globally recognized policy frameworks for the development and implementation of environmental, social and governance policies and practices.
Mr. Salman F. Rahman, adviser on private sector development to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,
stated that the Global Compact is a welcome initiative for the private sector in Bangladesh, and
promised the government’s full support for the initiative.
The event brought together roughly 150 representatives of business, government and civil society, including the 41 existing Global Compact participants from Bangladesh. The launch was followed by a roundtable discussion to further set the stage for CSR efforts in Bangladesh.