Press Releases

    21 September 2004

    Secretary-General Stresses Key Role of Private Sector in Development, in Message to World Industrial, Commercial Summit in Beijing

    NEW YORK, 20 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the summit of the World Industrial and Commercial Organization, delivered in Beijing on 19 September by Kim Hak-Su, Executive-Secretary, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP):

    It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to all the participants in this summit meeting of the World Industrial and Commercial Organization.

    The key role of business in creating wealth, jobs and opportunity is widely recognized and understood.  In their spheres of influence, up and down their supply chains, in their business-to-business contacts and relations with consumers, the private sector has considerable influence and impact. One of my priorities has been to engage this power more deeply in our work to promote development and to ensure that globalization can benefit all the world’s people.

    One major part of that effort is the Global Compact, a voluntary corporate social responsibility initiative that I launched in 1999. The Compact advances universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption, that are based on well-established international norms. The Compact is action-oriented.  Business leaders commit themselves and their companies to make real changes in their day-to-day business operations, and to engage in concrete projects, that will give practical meaning to the 10 principles.

    It is very encouraging that the Compact has been embraced by hundreds of participants from all continents and from within and beyond the business community. By working together, these participants are seeking to create new opportunities for the poor to improve their standards of living.  They are also trying to make investments that will increase our chances of meeting the Millennium Development Goals, and to underpin the global market with strong social and ethical foundations.

    I very much hope that more Chinese business leaders will embrace the Compact and align their practices with universal principles. By building bridges with the world, you can do your part to find solutions to the pressing challenges of our times. I look forward to working with you towards that end, and wish you all the best for a successful summit.

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