Sri Lanka hosts UN Global Compact Regional Meeting

Thursday, 20 December 2012 00:19 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Global Compact Network Ceylon hosted the United Nations Global Compact Local Network Regional Meeting for Asia and Oceania in Colombo recently.

Organised jointly with the UN Global Compact Office in New York, the two-day event convened Global Compact representatives of Local Networks from Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Republic of South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam.

The Regional Meeting provided an opportunity for Network representatives to discuss a variety of issues connected with implementation of corporate sustainability in the local context. Several senior officials of UN Global Compact headquarters in New York also attended the regional meeting.

Three core sessions were held:

The launch of a consultation process to engage Local Networks in Asia and Oceania to contribute to the post-2015 development framework, a process Governments have prioritised as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets are set to expire in 2015. The private sector has been identified as a key stakeholder in this process.

A discussion on how Local Networks can play a central role in engaging companies can promote responsible business when operating in high-risk and conflict-affected environments. Examples from Sri Lankan companies and existing Local Networks activities were shared.

A capacity building seminar regarding how Local Networks can support new and existing Global Compact companies as they pursue implementation of the ten principles

On the first day a session was held to bring together participants from both the Exchange Programme that was also hosted in Sri Lanka, and the Regional Meeting with Sri Lankan businesses and other stakeholders, over 100 representatives were in attendance. Several Global Compact participant companies from Sri Lanka showcased best practices and contributions to the Global Compact during the session.

 MAS Holdings presented on Leadership in Local Networks Establishment while Aitken Spence made a presentation on Leadership in Local Network Sustenance. Brandix and Hayleys Kelani Valley Plantations shared Sri Lankan corporate experiences in “Building Partnerships to Advance UN Goals”.

The event showcased how Local Networks are making an impact throughout the region on issues such as water management, anti-corruption and youth engagement. Opportunities for building up the support framework between businesses and Local Networks were also explored as well as how to establish effective partnerships between business and other stakeholders – including the United Nations. Finally, the outcomes of Rio+20 and future directions of the sustainable development agenda were presented.

Collectively the event underscored the valuable contributions to the sustainability agenda on offer in the Asia and Oceania region. Additionally, the events provided insight and opportunities for how Local Networks, companies and other stakeholders can work collectively to advance their respective efforts.

“The regional meeting provided valuable opportunities for Sri Lankan companies participating in the UN Global Compact to learn from regional experiences, showcase their practices on a regional platform and to network with Global Compact officials and representatives of local networks in the Asia & Oceania region,” said Sutheash Balasubramaniam, Network Representative of the Local Network Sri Lanka. 

The Global Compact, based on a commitment to ten universally accepted principles, is a practical framework for the development, implementation, and disclosure of sustainability policies and practices, offering participants a wide spectrum of workstreams, management tools and resources — all designed to help advance sustainable business models and markets. With over 10,000 corporate participants and other stakeholders from over 130 countries, it is the largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative in the world.

Local networks are clusters of participants who come together to advance the United Nations Global Compact and its principles within a particular geographic context. Local Networks perform increasingly important roles in rooting the Global Compact within different national, cultural and language contexts, facilitating the progress of companies with respect to sustainability, and creating opportunities for multi-stakeholder engagement.

Global Compact Network Ceylon brings together over 40 companies and associations, including 16 large public listed companies, covering Sri Lanka’s key industries, to promote the adoption of corporate sustainability in Sri Lanka.