The UN Global Compact and the United Nations

"Today’s development landscape features an inspiring array of new actors. Powerful domestic forces, spanning all levels of Governments, civil society, academia, the scientific community and the private sector, from micro-enterprises to multinationals, have coalesced to fight poverty. This is the underlying vision of the “global partnership” found in the 2030 Agenda – where Governments, the private sector, civil society, and the United Nations work together to mobilize all available resources. This is a potential asset. But to deliver on the promise of a prosperous and peaceful future, development actors will have to find new ways of working together and leveraging genuine partnerships that make the most of expertise, technology and resources for sustainable and inclusive growth.

Revamped capacities to support partnership building will be crucial to success. As reflected in Goal 17, the sustainable development agenda can only be realized with a strong commitment to partnerships at all levels between governments, private sector, civil society and others…With this recognition, we must harness the convening power of the United Nations through platforms where stakeholders can meaningfully engage, build trust, exchange know-how and technologies, strengthen relationships and bring synergy and coherence to achieve results."

Report of the Secretary-General, June 2017
“Repositioning the UN development system to deliver on the 2030 Agenda – Ensuring a Better Future for All”

Helping business find entry points to UN partnerships

Partnering with the UN is an important way Global Compact participants can take action to support society. Following are some of the ways that we help companies to find entry points to partnering with the UN:

Part of the Global Compact Business Partnership Hub, is an online platform connecting the UN and companies to advance partnership projects around the world. Business representatives and UN staff can interact among a global online community to share partnership projects, find partners, and scale impact. The platform helps facilitate UN-business collaboration across the wide array of topics addressed by the UN, and is leveraged for humanitarian appeals, disaster preparedness and response.

Partnerships at the local level

The UN Global Compact works closely with its Local Networks to build their capacity to connect the local business community with UN offices at the country level.

Trainings, tools and resources

The UN Global Compact has developed a variety of tools and resources to support practitioners throughout the partnership life cycle. Click here for information about UN Global Compact partnership match-making and how to find partners.

UN-Business dialogue and networking opportunities

The UN Global Compact convenes meetings throughout the year to connect the UN with stakeholders from government, business, and civil society to discuss common challenges and how they can be addressed through partnership:

  • The Private Sector Forum, convened by the Secretary-General on an annual basis in parallel with the General Assembly debate, allows business to contribute to inter-governmental discussions on key global issues.
  • The Annual UN System Private Sector Focal Points Meeting, held in parallel with the Global Compact Annual Local Networks Forum, provides a chance for UN staff, Global Compact business participants and Local Network representatives to learn, share, and identify new ways to collaborate
  • Other unique events are designed to accelerate cross-sector collaboration to address major global challenges, such as the meeting UN-Business Collaboration for Global Ebola Response.

Helping the UN system better engage the private sector

The Global Compact works with offices across the United Nations system to ensure that the organization is ready and able to partner strategically with the private sector.

The UN Private Sector Focal Points Network

The Global Compact chairs and coordinates the UN System Private Sector Focal Points (PSFP) network, a community of practice designed to encourage more coherent, principle-based and impactful UN-business partnerships. Connecting staff across the UN system tasked with private sector engagement, the PSFP network meets annually and convenes additional webinars and gatherings throughout the year. UN entities interested in joining the PSFP should contact Angus Rennie:

Strengthening Partnership Integrity: Policy and Guidelines

To advance integrity and transparency in UN-business partnerships, the Global Compact coordinates the development of policy and guidelines emphasizing the importance of due diligence and accountability in partner selection and engagement.

UN-Business Partnership Integrity: Key Policies and Guidelines:

Partnering with the UN system to advance the Global Compact Ten Principles

The Global Compact works with entities across the UN system to mainstream the Ten Principles into how they engage with the private sector as well as their own internal UN operations. This occurs primarily through issue specific collaboration.

Collaborating with UN entities to advance the Global Compact

The UN Global Compact works with a wide range of UN entities across the system to advance its mandate. Some key partners and issue specific collaborations include:

Area of FocusUN Entity
Food and Agriculture Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)
LabourInternational Labour Organization (ILO)
Women’s entrepreneurship and tradeInternational Trade Centre (ITC)
Children’s rights & educationUnited Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
Peace & poverty eradicationUnited Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
EducationUnited Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Women’s empowermentUnited Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
EnvironmentUnited Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Green Industry & the Post-2015 Development AgendaUnited Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
Disasters & emergenciesUnited Nations Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Anti-Corruption & Rule of LawUnited Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
Health, Women & Youth EmpowermentUnited Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Research, Innovation & Green TechnologyWorld Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

Advisory support for UN operations

The UN Global Compact also works with UN offices across the system to support both their core operations and their work with the private sector by providing advice, training, and support in a number of areas, such as:

  • Developing and refining private sector partnership strategies
  • Advising on due diligence in partner selection and partnership risk management
  • Incorporating the Ten Principles into core operations
  • Adopting responsible, sustainable and ethical approaches to UN procurement

The UN and Global Commerce

UN agencies, funds and programmes contribute in a wide variety of ways to creating enabling environments that promote responsible business and allow markets to thrive. Learn more in our report on The UN and Global Commerce.

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