31 January 2000

"Global Compact" Web Site Links UN, Business, Civil Society
With Simultaneous Launch in New York, Davos, 28 January

NEW YORK, 28 January (UN Headquarters) -- The most ambitious effort to date to establish a working relationship between international agencies, the private sector and citizens groups on the front-burner issues of environmental protection, job security and human rights takes a step forward into cyberspace today, with the inauguration of www.unglobalcompact.org.

On Friday, 28 January at 5:45 p.m. local time at the World Economic Forum Media Centre in Davos, Switzerland, the interactive Web site, the most comprehensive resource centre on corporate citizenship, will be launched by: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson; International Labour Organization Director-General Juan Somavia;, UN Environment Programme Executive Director Klaus Topfer; Novell CEO Eric Schmidt; BP Amoco CEO Sir John Browne; and the General Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Bill Jordan.

A launch will also take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York in Room S-226, at the daily noon press briefing.

Exactly one year earlier, speaking at the 1999 World Economic Forum, Secretary-General Kofi Annan proposed a "global compact" between the United Nations, business and civil society to tackle the crucial and contentious issues of environmental protection, and human and workers’ rights. He warned the business community that concerns about the impact of globalization and economic liberalization on living standards in rich and poor countries alike could lead to a civil society backlash. That warning was fulfilled at recent trade talks in Seattle.

The objectives of the Web site are to advance implementation of universally agreed values that are relevant to business, to promote global corporate citizenship and to stimulate best practices.

The Global Compact Web site:

-- makes the case for business commitment to environmental and rights issues, and presents documentation of universally recognized principles that corporations are being asked to incorporate in their practices, including the Universal Declaration on Human Rights; Agenda 21, the Earth Summit-endorsed action plan; and the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work;

-- puts managerial tools -- such as environmental impact checklists and matrices for documentation of stakeholder interactions;

-- into the hands of corporate staff;

-- links business and civil society users with organizations worldwide, which are involved with related issues, and keeps them up to date on new initiatives in the corporate citizenship field;

-- regularly updates a calendar of related events, within and outside the United Nations system;

-- circulates articles, reviews and position papers drawn from newspapers, journals, United Nations publications, the Internet, academic debate, and corporate and organizational statements;

-- integrates United Nations data bases on labour, human rights and the environment.

Coming additions to www.unglobalcompact.org will include expertly run and mediated dialogues on topical issues. Open-ended chat rooms are also planned.

For more information, contact Dan Shepard (1-212-963-2339) at the Development and Human Rights Section, Department Public Information; and Georg Kell (1-212-963-1490) at the Executive Office of the Secretary-General.

* * * * *