UN Global Compact Highlighted in Parliamentary Report
1 July 2015 at 11:26 am
The UN Global Compact has been highlighted in a Federal Parliament Committee report on the role of the private sector in promoting economic growth and reducing poverty in the Pacific region.
Recommendations of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade include that DFAT ensure staff have an expert understanding of the UN Global Compact and are able to connect businesses in Australia and overseas to local Global Compact representatives.
The report was developed in the context of Australia’s new aid policy, launched in 2014, which has a stronger focus on private sector development and private sector engagement.
“Evidence showed productive collaboration is already underway between the commercial and not-for-profit sectors. While there was some commentary about these sectors ‘not speaking the same language’, it was clear that translation between the private and civil society sector has been, and is, possible,” the Parliamentary report said.
“It will be of utmost importance that DFAT selects development partners carefully, and that there is a close fit between the development objectives of the Australian Government and the business’ objectives.
“Appropriate due diligence processes are needed. Expecting partners to commit to international standards of performance or principles such as the UN Global Compact and the Women’s Empowerment Principles, as well as industry specific platforms such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative should help guide the new partnerships to international best practice.
The report identifies the UN Global Compact as a key framework in this space, with its recommendations including that DFAT:
ensure staff have an expert understanding of the UN Global Compact and the Women’s Empowerment Principles (a joint initiative of the UN Global Compact and UN Women); and
be able to identify opportunities and connect businesses in Australia and overseas to global platforms, processes and frameworks, for example, the UN Global Compact.
Chair of the Parliamentary Committee Teresa Gambaro said this inquiry confirmed that the way forward is through innovation and partnerships to strengthen Australian aid in our region.
“The 44 Parliament is the first time a sub-committee has been formed with a specific focus on aid. This has coincided with the major realignment of Australia's aid program harnessing the power of the private sector/ and addressing gender inequalities,” Gambaro said.
Sub-committee Chair responsible for the report/ Dr Sharman Stone said there is strong agreement that the private sector is pivotal to growth and economic independence for developing countries.
"It is in everyone's interest to have a stable and increasingly prosperous region. Stability comes when people within sovereign nations are able to have their basic human needs met and are able to contribute to the betterment of their community and country through productive work,” she said.
In the past year businesses, academics, NGOs, global partnerships, government and public service as well as many individuals contributed a range of views to the Foreign Affairs and Aid sub-committee on what role the private sector could and should play in international development.
Views were also contributed on how the Australian Government could or should support this initiative.
The report also Identified the need to address roadblocks which hinder participation of private sector partners, and to position Government as a hub of information for development partners/ potential partners and the Australian public.
The committee made 37 recommendations in its report, which address donor coordination; engagement with partner nations/ the private sector and other key stakeholders; financing for development and infrastructure; and the internal change needed within DFAT.
The UN Global Compact Network Australia Submission (No 79) can be found HERE.