Launched in 2000, the United Nations Global Compact is a both a policy platform and a practical framework for companies that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. As a multi-stakeholder leadership initiative, it seeks to align business operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to catalyze actions in support of broader UN goals. With 7,000 corporate signatories in 135 countries, it is the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the voice for the environment in the United Nations system. It is an advocate, educator, catalyst and facilitator, promoting the wise use of the planet's natural assets for sustainable development. The mission of UNEP is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. The Division of Technology, Economics (DTIE) is the division within UNEP responsible for working with business and industry. With its longstanding activities in the areas of green economy, climate change, resource efficiency, harmful substances and hazardous waste, finance and corporate responsibility, it provides solutions to policy makers and helps change the business environment by offering platforms for dialogue and co-operation, innovative policy options, pilot projects and creative market mechanisms.
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, UNDP offers global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations devoted to advancing opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. Its main aims are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue in handling work-related issues. It is the only 'tripartite' organization within the UN system bringing together representatives of governments, employers and workers to jointly shape policies and programmes. Working with its 183 member States, the ILO seeks to ensure that labour standards are respected in practice as well as in principle.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Achieving food security for all is at the heart of FAO's efforts – to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. FAO's mandate is to raise levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information and helps developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all. Since its founding in 1945, FAO has focused special attention on developing rural areas, home to 70 percent of the world's poor and hungry people.
UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to implement these standards. It stands behind women's equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on five priority areas: increasing women's leadership and participation; ending violence against women; engaging women in all aspects of peace and security processes; enhancing women's economic empowerment; and making gender equality central to national development planning and budgeting. UN Women also coordinates and promotes the UN system's work in advancing gender equality.
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations, with a mandate to promote and accelerate sustainable industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability. UNIDO’s services are based on two core functions: as a global forum, it generates and disseminates industry-related knowledge; as a technical cooperation agency, it provides technical support and implement projects. Today, the Organization is recognized as a highly relevant, specialized and efficient provider of key services in support of the interlinked challenges of reducing poverty through productive activities, promoting the integration of developing countries in global trade through trade capacity building, fostering environmental sustainability in industry, and improving access to energy.
Established in 1964, UNCTAD promotes the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy. UNCTAD has progressively evolved into an authoritative knowledge-based institution whose work aims to help shape current policy debates and thinking on development, with a particular focus on ensuring that domestic policies and international action are mutually supportive in bringing about sustainable development. The organization fulfills this mandate through three key functions: 1) It provides a forum for intergovernmental deliberations, supported by discussions with experts and exchanges of experience, aimed at consensus building; 2) It undertakes research, policy analysis and data collection for the debates of government representatives and experts; and 3) It provides technical assistance tailored to the specific requirements of developing countries. In performing its functions, the secretariat works together with member Governments, organizations of the UN system, governmental institutions, NGOs, the private sector (including industry associations), research institutes and universities worldwide.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities-all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion.
ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. As the development partner for small business export success, ITC's goal is to help developing and transition countries achieve sustainable human development through exports. ITC partners with trade support institutions to deliver integrated solutions for "Export Impact for Good." ITC's services are delivered through five complementary business services: business and trade policy, export strategy, strengthening trade support institutions, trade intelligence and exporter competitiveness. Through strategic development and capacity building based on these business services, ITC connects opportunities to markets. As a result, ITC achieves long-term, tangible benefits at both national and community levels.
The human population is now predominantly urban. Around the world cities and towns are growing at rates never before experienced in history. Our mission at UN-Habitat, the city agency, is to turn urbanisation into a positive force for all humanity. For more than 30 years we have helped the urban poor by working for the transformation of cities into safer, healthier, greener places with better opportunities where everyone can live in dignity. Our vision is for better planned cities without slums that are liveable places for all, which do not pollute the environment or deplete natural resources. Based in Nairobi, Kenya we work with organizations and partners at every level, including government, civil society and the private sector to help build, manage, plan and finance sustainable urban development. UN-Habitat holds the world’s premier conference on cities, the World Urban Forum, and spearheads the World Urban Campaign to help city changers promote better, smarter and more liveable cities.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and determine the direction of their own lives. Since 1978, IFAD has invested almost US$14 billion in grants and low-interest loans to developing countries through projects empowering about 400 million people to break out of poverty, thereby helping to create vibrant rural communities. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome - the United Nations' food and agriculture hub. It is a unique partnership of 168 members from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), other developing countries and the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD).
Business Call to Action is a global initiative that seeks to challenge companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for development impact along with commercial success. The initiative is the result of a partnership between the Australian Agency for International Development, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the UK Department for International Development, the US Agency for International Development, UNDP, the UN Global Compact, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the International Business Leaders Forum to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Companies report on progress toward commitments on an annual basis.
The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is making concrete contributions to developing the capacities of tens of thousands of people around the world. Since its inception in 1965, UNITAR has built sustainable partnerships acquiring unique expertise and accumulating experience and knowledge to fulfil its mandate. These accomplishments have enabled UNITAR to respond to the growing demand from UN Member States for training for capacity development in the fields of Environment; Peace, Security and Diplomacy; and Governance.
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