UN: G-77 Calls for Rules of Engagement for Corporate Partnerships

NEW YORK -- In the second year of UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan's policy of UN engagement with the private sector, the Group of 77 Friday called for appropriate rules to guide such an engagement.

In a declaration at the end of their meeting on Friday, G-77 foreign ministers said the rules of the UN system's engagement with the private sector should be developed through an inter-governmental process and that the rules should also include Annan's Global Compact Initiative.

The Global Compact Initiative, announced by Annan last year, is aimed at enabling the UN to work with corporations to evolve responsible policies on issues of human rights, the environment and labour rights.

Other issues covered in the ministers' declaration include a call on the international community to take initiatives for less developed countries, covering such areas as poverty eradication, debt cancellation, increased development assistance, equitable implementation of World Trade Organisation Agreements and free access of their exports to world markets.

The ministers expressed concern at the spread of HIV/AIDS and other contagious diseases and stated their support for a special session of the General Assembly to address the problem comprehensively.

Noting the lack of progress in the implementation of key aspects of the 1992 agenda for environmentally sustainable development, the ministers emphasised the need for the ten-year review conference of the agenda to focus on identifying the challenges to the implementation of the agenda and adopt
measures for remedying the situation.

Of particular concern to the ministers was the failure of developed countries to provide concessional resources and transfer of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries as agreed at the 1992 conference on sustainable development.

The declaration also noted the ministers' concern over the chronic financial difficulties of the UN, attributing the situation to the failure of major contributors to pay their dues in full and on time.

Turning to the call for change in the scale of assessment of contributions to the UN budget, the ministers said the principle of "capacity to pay should be the fundamental criterion in apportioning UN expenses to member states.

At their meeting, the ministers also elected Iran to succeed Nigeria as chairman of the 133-member group in January 2001.

Nigeria took over the leadership of the G-77 in January.

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