From 24 – 25 April 2013, over 300 representatives from UN entities, private sector companies, civil society organizations and Global Compact Local Networks gathered for the United Nations System Private Sector Focal Points Meeting in Geneva. With the largest ever turnout of UN and private sector representatives, the meeting demonstrates the rapidly growing relevance of public-private partnerships across sectors.
The annual Private Sector Focal Points meeting aims to enhance communication, strengthen learning, advance coordination and improve collaboration among UN staff working with the private sector. For the first time, a day of joint programming was held with the Global Compact Annual Local Network Forum (ALNF) to spark dialogue on ways to further engage the private sector in support of UN goals at the country level. Discussions focused on “Strengthening Partnership Synergies for Local Impact”, recognizing the important role the Global Compact Local Networks can play in brokering partnerships between UN entities and business in local contexts.
During the two-day event, a number of relevant topics were presented, including how to engage in partnerships with the extractive industries; innovative partnerships for the Post-2015 Development Agenda; enhancing collaboration between the UN, Global Compact Local Networks and the private sector; and national approaches to implementing global initiatives. In the opening plenary, several business representatives provided insights and recommendations for more effective partnerships between the UN and private sector.
Georg Kell, UN Global Compact Executive Director, commented in his final remarks, “Mixing in the bottom-up approach by including Global Compact Local Networks was an experiment that has clearly been very well received.” Looking ahead, he added, “Local ownership of partnerships is key for scale and transformative impact.”
Liliana Orbegozo, Representative of the Global Compact Local Network Colombia, summarized a main outcome of the meeting: “Local Networks are more than capable to play the ‘neutral actor’ needed to bridge the gap between UN and business misconceptions of one another.”
In response to the increased demand for practical tools among Private Sector Focal Points, the UN-Business Partnerships Handbook was co-developed by the UN Global Compact and the Global Public Policy Institute and launched today. The handbook is a flagship partnership resource for the UN system and a step-by-step guide to effectively design, implement and evaluate a partnership with the private sector. In addition to highlighting best practices for building a successful partnership, the handbook features a typology of UN-business partnership models – from global and local implementation partnerships and advocacy campaigns to corporate sustainability initiatives. Additional practical tools highlighted in the handbook can be accessed on the new Tools and Resources page on the business.un.org website.
The official meeting report will be available shortly.
For more information, please contact Melissa Powell, Head, Strategy and Partnerships, UN Global Compact.