29 August 2003


Secretary-General Praises Global Union Federation for Promoting Principles of Global Compact, in Message to Norway Congress

NEW YORK, 28 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message to the Third Congress of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions in Stavanger, Norway, 28-30 August:

When promoting the Global Compact, I often say that the United Nations needs good partners.  I am glad that we have such a partner in the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM). 

The Global Compact seeks to advance responsible corporate citizenship by promoting nine universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour and the environment.  The Compact relies on public accountability, transparency and enlightened self-interest. Above all, it depends on partnerships, including with international labour organizations that are reaching global agreements with multinational corporations.

The ICEM is one such organization.  You are a signatory to six of the 30 global agreements currently in place.  You are the only global union federation whose agreements specifically refer to the Global Compact and its notion of good corporate citizenship and social responsibility.  Some of the agreements you have reached create important monitoring mechanisms that give hope of further improving those agreements.  You are also the first to achieve a global agreement with an African-based company -- Anglo Gold of South Africa, a company doing business in some of the more volatile parts of the world.  And your General Secretary, Fred Higgs, is a member of the Advisory Council of the Global Compact.

The ICEM has therefore done much to promote the principles of the Global Compact and the vision of a more sustainable and inclusive global economy that lies at its heart.  I hope that you will build on these efforts in the future.  Your leadership is particularly important in generating support for the Compact within the global labour movement.  I take heart from the fact that this year has seen greater involvement by global labour in the Compact than ever before.  This bodes well for the future of the Global Compact.  In that spirit, I send my best wishes to all delegates for a successful congress.


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