UN Global Compact and OECD Intensify Collaboration

New York, United States of America

( New York/Paris, 27 October 2009 ) – The United Nations Global Compact and the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”) have recently begun to enhance their collaborative efforts, particularly in countries that have both Global Compact Local Networks and National Contact Points (“NCPs”) on the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. 

Following its participation in the 2009 Annual Meeting of the National Contact Points, the UN Global Compact asked its Local Network Focal Points in countries that adhere to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises to actively explore collaborative opportunities with NCPs. Additionally, Focal Points were encouraged to seek advice and guidance from NCPs, particularly regarding follow-up procedures for OECD Guidelines implementation. 

In an exchange of letters between Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, and Manfred Schekulin, Chair of the OECD Investment Committee, a mutual interest in closer cooperation was indicated. Following a letter from Mr. Kell in September 2009, Mr. Schekulin agreed that intensifying linkages between Global Compact Local Networks and NCPs was a desirable goal and suggested that “possibilities for achieving this should be further explored”. Mr. Schekulin additionally invited the UN Global Compact to consult in the ongoing process of updating the OECD Guidelines. 

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are a comprehensive code of conduct adhered to by the 30 OECD countries, along with 12 non-member countries.1  Designed to promote positive multinational enterprise action in economic, environmental, and social issues, the OECD Guidelines are a complement to the Global Compact’s Ten Principles. The Guidelines have a unique implementation mechanism as handled by National Contact Points, which includes mediation and conciliation to help resolve investment disputes. This dovetails well with the Global Compact’s focus as a learning initiative and facilitator of dialogue, which helps participants implement policies that embody the Ten Principles.   

In November, further collaboration between the OECD and UN Global Compact will occur through the First Asia Pacific Trade and Investment Week (2-6 November, Bangkok) hosted by UNESCAP. This will include a meeting of Global Compact Local Networks led by Marinus Sikkel, in charge of UNESCAP's regional support hub for the UN Global Compact and former OECD Investment Committee Chair. Also that week, the OECD-UNESCAP Conference on Corporate Responsibility will be held, with discussion focused on synergies between major international corporate responsibility instruments and the upcoming updating of the OECD Guidelines. These meetings provide an excellent opportunity for Global Compact practitioners from Asia and the OECD to share experiences. 

1 Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Estonia, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, Peru, Romania and Slovenia. Morocco’s adherence will take effect in November 2009.