Citizens Compact

on the United Nations and Corporations
Publisher Name: 
CorpWatch

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PREAMBLE

In January 1999, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan called for a "Global Compact" between the UN and the business community. In that compact, he challenged business leaders to embrace and enact nine core principles derived from UN agreements on labor standards, human rights and environmental protection. In exchange, he promised, the UN will support free trade and open markets.

Citizen organizations and movements recognize that the private sector has enormous influence on human health, environment, development and human rights. Everyone shares the hope that economic well-being will bring real human development and ecological security. Yet as Unicef Executive Director Carol Bellamy has said, "It is dangerous to assume that the goals of the private sector are somehow synonymous with those of the United Nations because they most emphatically are not." At times corporations work at cross purposes to the wider realization of rights and responsibilities enshrined in United Nations covenants, declarations and agreements.

The growing concentration of wealth and power in the hands of fundamentally undemocratic global corporations and other institutions of globalization with no accountability to governments or peoples is in direct conflict with the principles and aims of the United Nations to enhance human dignity and the capacity for self-governance. As the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights puts it, the UN should not support institutions or corporations whose activities "create benefits for a small privileged minority at the expense of an increasingly disenfranchised majority."

Citizen organizations and movements support the mission and values of the United Nations. These objectives must have primacy of place and must not be subordinated to commercial trade, investment and finance rules. The UN, as an institution that prioritizes human rights, health, labor standards, sustainable development and ecological protection over commercial interests, must have the capacity to exercise its mandate.

Citizens organizations and movements recognize that declining financial support from governments to the UN and its specialized agencies make their job harder. The UN must adjust to these circumstances; however it must do so while adhering to its Charter and its impartiality, and without compromising its commitment to its fundamental principles.

We propose a compact between the UN and civil society, regarding the UN's relationship with the private sector. With this compact, we pledge our active support for a strengthening of the United Nations, financially and politically. Adherence to these nine principles will safeguard the image, mission and credibility of the United Nations as it deals with the private sector.



THE PRINCIPLES

  • Multinational corporations are too important for their conduct to be left to voluntary and self-generated standards. A legal framework, including monitoring, must be developed to govern their behavior on the world stage.

  • The United Nations will continue to develop tools to ensure universal values of environmental protection and human rights, through such mechanisms as multilateral environmental and human rights agreements, codes of marketing, and ILO conventions.

  • The United Nations recognizes the legitimate purpose of national and local legislation to protect ecosytems, human health, labor standards, and human rights. The United Nations will assist civil society and governments in enacting and implementing such legislation.

  • The UN must find ways to ensure that other intergovernmental bodies, such as the IMF, World Bank and WTO, do not depart from the principles and goals of the UN Charter.

  • United Nations agencies will advise and offer assistance to corporations wishing to understand and improve their human rights and environmental behavior. Such assistance will not be considered a "partnership."

  • The United Nations does not endorse or promote products or brand names of any private corporation, and will avoid the appearance of such endorsements.

  • The United Nations will avoid any public association or financial relationship with companies with destructive practices, or products that are harmful to human health or the environment. Before entering any relationship with a corporation, the UN will thoroughly evaluate whether the objectives of that company are compatible with those of the UN. In doing so, it must set up open and transparent processes of dialogue with NGOs and community groups with expertise on those corporations' activities.

  • The United Nations and its agencies will continue to fulfill their mission with funding from governments. In cases where private corporations wish to make a donation, the money will go to programs that have no connection to commercial projects for that company.

  • The UN will act with full transparency in all its dealings with the private sector, at the conceptual, planning and implementation stages. NGOs should have access to the same information in this regard as the private sector.

Davos, Switzerland

January 28, 2000




If you would like to add your organization to the list of endorsers, please send the name of your group, contact person, city and country where the organization is located to cwadmin@corpwatch.org. At this time we are asking, organizations only, not individuals, to sign on. Thank you for your support.





ENDORSERS (Partial List)

(Fr.) Brian D. Byrne SVD, Coordinator

Justice, Peace and Integity of Creation Divine Word Missionaries

Sydney, Australia

Gustav E. Jackson, Executive Director

Guyana Research and Environmental Education Network (G.R.E.E.N.)

Georgetown, Guyana, South America

Martin Khor and Chee Yoke Ling

Third World Network

Malaysia

Thomas Wallgren, Senior Research Fellow

Academy of Finland

Finland

Agnès Bertrand and Etienne Vernet

Ecoropa

Paris, France

John Cavanagh, Director

Institute for Policy Studies

Washington DC, USA

Shahid Husain, Senior Reporter

Financial Post Daily

Karachi, Pakistan

La Raw Maran, Executive Director

Kachin-Americans and Friends, USA, Inc. for Democracy and Human Rights in Burma

Champaign, Illinois, USA

Ashish Kothari

Kalpavriksh - Environmental Action Group

Pune, India

Alfredo Quarto

Mangrove Action Project

Port Angeles, Washington, USA

Alice Slater

Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE)

New York, USA

Tim Lang

Professor of Food Policy

Thames Valley University

Centre for Food Policy

London, UK

Miguel Grinberg

Promundo Internacional

Buenos Aires, Argentina

P V Satheesh, Director

Deccan Development Society

Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh State, India

Pipob Udomittipong

Foundation for Children, Foreign Desk

Thailand

Smitu Kothari

Lokayan and International Group for Grassroots Initiatives

Delhi, India

Debbie Stothard, Coordinator

Altsean-Burma (Alternative Asean Network on Burma)

Bangkok, Thailand

Jolanda Piniel

Berne Declaration

Zurich, Switzerland

Yash Tandon, Director

International South Group Network

Zimbabwe

Herb Barbolet, Executive Director

FarmFolk/CityFolk Society

Vancouver, Canada

Maurizio Farhan Ferrari

Forest Peoples Programme, UK

Forest Peoples Programme (FPP)*

Moreton-in-Marsh, England

*The FPP is an affiliate of the World Rainforest Movement

Miloon Kothari, Coordinator

International NGO Committee on Human Rights in Trade and Investment

New Delhi, India

Jerry Eldridge, Secretary-General

Habitat International Coalition

Cape Town, South Africa

Edith Mirante, Project Director

Project Maje

Portland, Oregon, USA

Himanshu Thakkar

South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People

New Delhi, India

Larry Dohrs

Seattle Burma Roundtable, part of the Free Burma Coalition

Seattle, Washington, USA

Elisabeth Sterken, Chair

International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN)

John Sellers, Director

The Ruckus Society

Berkeley, California, USA

Kalyanee Shah, President

SEWA (Socio-Economic Welfare Action for Women and Children)

Kathmandu, Nepal

Mike Prokosch

United for a Fair Economy

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Antonia Juhasz, Director, International Trade and Forest Programs

American Lands Alliance

Washington DC, USA

Anthony Coughlan, Secretary

National Platform

Dublin, Ireland

Bonnie Campbell (Dr.)

Professor of Political Economy

Dept. of Political Science

University of Quebec in Montreal

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Roger Normand, Policy Director

Center for Economic and Social Rights

New York, USA

Mr. Rimantas Braziulis, Chairman

Lithuanian Green Movement/Friends of the Earth Lithuania

Mr. Saulius Piksrys, Chairman

"Atgaja" Community

Lithuania

Arnold Ward

South Australian Genetic

Food Information Network

Adelaide, Australia

Peter Niggle

Swiss Coalition of Development Organizations

Bern, Switzerland

Tony Juniper, Policy and Campaigns Director

Friends of the Earth

England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Devinder Sharma

Author

Delhi, India

Bill Ellis

TRANET

Rangeley, Maine, USA

Urs Sekinger, Coordinator

SOLIFONDS (Solidarity Fund for the Struggles for Social Liberation in the Third World)

Zurich, Switzerland

Heidi Hautala

Member of the European Parliament

President of the Green/European Free Alliance Group at the EP

Danny Kennedy, Director

Project Underground

Berkeley, California, USA

Philipp Mimkes

Coordination gegen BAYER-Gefahren

Duesseldorf, Germany

Paula Palmer, Executive Director

Global Response

Boulder, Colorado, USA

Cherie Hoyle

Urban Ecology Australia Inc.

Adelaide, Australia

Christine Plüss

Arbeitskreis Tourismus & Entwicklung (Working Group on Tourism and
Development)

Basel, Switzerland

Rosemary Everett, SNJM, Justice and Peace Coordinator

Sisters of the Holy Names

Santa Clara, California, USA

Michael M'Gonigle and Laure Waridel, Eco-Research Chair

Environmental Law and Policy,

University of Victoria

Victoria, Canada

Kevin Heppner

Karen Human Rights Group

Burma / Thailand

Ville-Veikko Hirvelä

Friend of the Earth Finland

Romina Picolotti, Executive Director

Centro de Derechos Humanos y Medio Ambiente

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Nathan B. Karnes, President

United Nations Association of the USA,

Greater New Haven Chapter

New Haven, Connecticut, USA

(Dr) John Hermann, National Coordinator

Economic Reform Austrialia

Australia

Iza Kruszewska, International Programmes Coordinator

ANPED, Northern Alliance for Sustainability

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Rev. Dr. Douglas B. Hunt, Washington and United Nations Representative

Network for Environmental and Economic Responsibility of the United Church of Christ

Wheaton, Maryland, USA

David C. Korten, Rresident

The People-Centered Development Forum

USA

Suren Moodliar, International Organizer

INFACT

Boston, Massachusettes, USA

Lauren Gwin, Development Director

Project Underground

Berkeley, California, USA

Lorenzo Muelas-Hurtado

Movimiento Autoridades Indígenas de Colombia

Colombia

Martina Schaub, Kampagnenleiterin TradeWatch

GERMANWATCH

Bonn, Germany

Silke Spielmans & Sabine Schupp

BUKO Agro Coordination

Hamburg, Germany

PDHRE - People's Decade of Human Rights Education

New York, USA

ITeM, Instituto del Tercer Mundo

Montevideo, Uruguay

Steve Koehler, President

Rayonier Hazardous Waste Cleanup Project

Olympic Environmental Council

Port Angeles, Washington, USA

Sally Hall

Association for Environment Conscious Building

United Kingdom

Stephane Martel

ENvironnement JEUnesse (ENJEU)

Montreal, Canada

Ann Heidnereich

Seedcorn

Potsdam, New York, USA

Global Exchange

San Francisco, CA, USA

Center for Balanced Development

Sterling, Virginia, USA

Kalle Lasn, Executive Director

Adbusters Media Foundation

Vancouver, Canada

Humanist Movement

Delhi, India

Centro Nuovo Modello di Sviluppo

Vecchiano (Pisa), Italy

Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility

United Church of Christ

Pleasant Hill, TN, USA

Obed Watershed Association

Crossville, TN, USA

Cumberland Countians for Peace & Justice

Pleasant Hill, TN, USA

AMP Section Name:Alliance for a Corporate-Free UN
  • 101 Alliance for a Corporate-Free UN