UNSG Report Highlights UN-Private Sector Partnerships

UN logoAugust 2013: The UN has made progress in achieving development and organizational goals through private sector partnerships, according to a report issued by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. ‘Enhanced cooperation between the UN and all relevant partners, in particular the private sector' (A/68/326) indicates that the UN has adopted a more strategic approach to private sector engagement, highlights opportunities for private sector engagement at country level through the UN Global Compact and its Local Networks, and provides recommendations on collaboration between the private sector, the UN and its Member States.

The report says discussions on the post-2015 development framework have resulted in a renewed emphasis on partnerships. It emphasizes the UN's ability to act as a bridge-builder among sectors, particularly with the private sector, to encourage them to participate in delivering development goals. The report notes the Secretary-General's proposal to establish a UN partnership facility to create a partnership focal point network, provide partnership support services and deliver at global and country scales.

Emerging trends highlighted in the report include: convergence between business and UN interests; innovative partnership and financing models and technologies, such as the Global Pulse initiative and the 'm-Health' partnership; and engagements with partners in growing economies. The report also highlights possibilities to further synchronize global and local goals and partnership models, suggesting that global initiatives such as the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) and the CEO Water Mandate can serve as 'umbrella frameworks' for local partnerships.

The report notes the UN's processes to safeguard its brand and credibility through due diligence screening, monitoring measures and partnership guidelines. It recommends: ensuring common integrity standards while allowing for differentiation; shifting from a risk-averse to a risk-managed approach; building staff capacity to conduct due diligence; and promoting accountability and transparency.

Describing the expansion and evolution of the Global Compact Local Networks, the report also recommends that they promote diversified participation, embed the Global Compact's principles into local organizational cultures and strategies, and balance global leadership with local ownership.

The report concludes that strengthening the business contribution to UN goals will require transformative impacts. It recommends aligning and scaling up corporate efforts within a global architecture, and integrating efforts through multi-stakeholder partnerships, such as the facility proposed by the Secretary-General. [Enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners, in particular the private sector: Report of the Secretary-General (A/68/326)]