|For information only - not an official document.|
|Press Release No: UNIS/DSG/40|
|Release Date: 27 June 2000|
| Deputy Secretary-General Stresses Partnership to Meet Development Goals
In Statement to Paris Economic Cooperation and Development Forum
NEW YORK, 26 June (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the statement of Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Forum 2000 panel on "Partnership for the Twenty-first Century" in Paris on 26 June:
Je suis très heureuse d'être ici, et surtout de l'occasion qui m'est ainsi offerte d'échanger des idées sur un thème qui tient particulièrement à coeur à l'ONU. Le partenariat est en effet l'un des fondements sur lesquels nous nous efforçons de bâtir les Nations Unies du XXIe siècle.
Ce panel lui-même est l'image du partenariat en action, puisqu'il réunit des représentants de gouvernements et du secteur privé, une organisation non gouvernementale et une organisation intergouvernementale. Je voudrais faire remarquer que deux des panélistes -- Pierre Sané et Sir Robert Wilson -- seront également à New York le mois prochain pour une rencontre avec le Secrétaire général. J'en dirai davantage sur cette rencontre dans un moment. Pour l'instant, je voudrais juste souligner qu'il nous arrive de plus en plus souvent de nous retrouver dans une même pièce. Je me réjouis de ces contacts et des alliances que nous nouons car, dans le passé, les relations entre nos différents milieux ont trop souvent été marquées par la dispersion et la rivalité. Mais l'important est bien sûr de s'assurer que nous sommes "sur la même longueur d'onde". Et nous devons donc nous demander : sommes-nous en train de forger des alliances de convenance ou de véritables coalitions pour le changement?
A very important step in the right direction is being taken today with the launch of a report co-authored by the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and -- I am pleased to note -- the OECD. The report is entitled "A Better World for All" and it marks the first time that these four institutions have agreed on a set of common goals for economic and social development. The goals were drawn up at the United Nations conferences of the 1990s and cover seven key areas: poverty, education, gender, the environment, reproductive health, and infant, child and maternal mortality. Together, they give us a universally endorsed agenda for meeting the central challenge of our time: ensuring that globalization becomes a positive force for all the world's people, instead of leaving billions behind in squalor.
We have the means to achieve these goals. We are even making progress, although very unevenly. Yet, thus far, we have failed to work together as productively as we could, or as effectively as we need to for the future. This is where partnership comes in. Everybody has to play a role in translating the development goals into tangible results.
The primary responsibility rests of course with the government and people of each country. For success to be achieved, the pursuit of these goals must be embraced as over-riding national priorities and the necessary political conditions, as well as social and economic policies, must be put in place.
Governments of OECD countries continue to hold many of the main levers for progress to be made in developing countries. Only they can expand debt relief. Only they can open their markets to developing-country exports. Only they can dispense more and better targeted official development assistance. Far-sighted leadership in these areas could go a very long way towards creating and improving opportunities of the poor.
But even enlightened global policy and decisive action would not be enough. In today's world, global actors with tremendous influence on the quality of people's lives are increasingly those that operate outside the public domain. Here I am thinking of the business community and its extraordinary reach and resources. I am thinking of civil society organizations that are stepping to the fore as advocates, and stepping into the breach where States are absent or unable to provide essential services. I am thinking of foundations, and the significant increase in private and corporate philanthropy that we have seen in recent years. And I am thinking of parliamentarians, local authorities, scientific associations, educational institutions and many others. As borders and other barriers fall, the global influence of these and other non-State actors has grown. They have become indispensable partners in the search for solutions to global problems.
Certainly there is no shortage of good intentions.
More and more businesses recognize the need to practice global corporate citizenship. They are realizing that profitability and economic stability cannot be assured by the power of markets alone, and that open global markets can only be sustained if they meet the expectations of people.
As for civil society groups, while some of them have encouraged a populist backlash against globalization and liberalization, many others prefer to offer a reasoned and constructive critique. Many non-governmental organizations have long pursued noble goals, but have learned only recently to work with the private sector to bring those goals nearer.
Non-governmental organizations and business alike are coming to grips with the need to see beyond their specific goals and concerns to the broader picture. Single-issue tenacity has its place. But there must also be an understanding that there are a range of priorities of equal urgency and with equal claim on the world's attention. There must be a willingness to form alliances that might not be obvious but that would advance the overall cause. How refreshing it would be, for example, if environmental groups were to campaign for extending economic opportunities to the poor, or if business were to lend its support to debt relief measures.
While there is no shortage of good intentions, we are all feeling our way towards viable approaches to tap the rich pool of energy, creativity and goodwill that exists. If we are to attain the priority goals set out by the international community, we must give direction and encouragement to these new forces. It is in this context that the Secretary-General proposed a Global Compact with the world's business community.
The compact is rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the core labour standards of the International Labour Organization, and the Rio principles on the environment. It is intended to get the business community to help implement these principles through concrete actions in their spheres of influence. The Compact is not a code of conduct. It is a framework for embedding global markets in the shared values which these agreements reflect and an entry point for business to work in partnership with United Nations organizations. It is also a platform to promote and publicize good corporate practices. As such it provides a basis for structured dialogue between the United Nations, business, labour and non-governmental organizations to make those good practices even better.
Indeed, the compact is a way to turn the unease about globalization, and the confrontational energy that has emanated from that unease, into something that benefits all people and which all people can support. Next month at United Nations Headquarters in New York, leaders from corporations, non-governmental organizations and labour unions will come together in a new effort to overcome conventional lines of division. The road from Seattle, and towards the achievement of global development goals, can be made smoother by the partnerships that are at the heart of the Global Compact.
No talk of new partnerships and alliances would be complete without my stressing to you that the famously fragmented United Nations system is also trying to practice what it preaches. The "quiet revolution" of United Nations reform continues. We must identify our core strengths, and be ready to cede ground where others have a comparative advantage. We must be part of global policy networks, exploit the new information technologies and open our doors even wider to civil society.
The rapid pace of change today frequently exceeds the capacity of national and international institutions to adapt. As the Secretary-General wrote in his Millennium Report, we must think anew about how we manage our joint activities and our shared interests. At the national level, we must govern better. And at the international level, we must learn to govern better together. Effective States are essential for both tasks. But without partners from well beyond the precincts of officialdom, we will get nowhere. The United Nations cannot and does not want to usurp the role of other actors on the world stage, but to become a more effective catalyst for change and coordination among them. That is our most vital role, based on the universal and enduring principles of our founding Charter.
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