The United Nations Global Compact has launched its first regional network in Africa for Mauritius and the Indian Ocean region at an event attended by representatives from business, civil society, academia and the United Nations.
The launch event featured commitments from CEOs in the region on the role that the private sector can play in building a sustainable future for the Indian Ocean region. The 27 companies in attendance from Mauritius, Madagascar and Seychelles have committed to the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption and to take action to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. They represent various industries, including finance, tourism and hospitality and food and beverages. The launch event also served to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and 20th anniversary of UN Global Compact.
UN Global Compact Executive Director and CEO Sanda Ojiambo hailed the importance of the new regional network. “It’s a milestone on the road to uniting business for a better world,” she said. In her welcoming remarks at the event, she added, “This regional network is a natural response to the need for more regional integration in tackling important issues such as extreme poverty, gender inequality and fragile ecosystems. As a convener and partner, the regional network can help the region achieve inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Christine Umutoni, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Mauritius and Seychelles, agreed. “We are launching the Global Compact Network covering Mauritius and the Indian Ocean islands during a special time,” she said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us all that public-private partnerships, regional networks and solidarity is key to building back better. Let us all embrace a green recovery in our support of the network.”
Raoul Gufflet, Board Chairperson for the new regional network, encouraged all businesses in the region to join the network, highlighting the importance of business action to support economic recovery and resiliency and long-term sustainability.
“Amidst these times of crisis, businesses, governments and civil society in general all have a moral responsibility to work together to build a resilient society and leave a positive legacy for our children and grandchildren,” he said. “The regional network will harness the viable and impactful public-private partnerships to progress on the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals both locally and regionally.”
“The launch of our first regional network in Africa provides an opportunity for businesses across the continent to share knowledge and be a powerful force for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals,” he added. “Companies that do business responsibly and find opportunities to innovate around sustainability will be the business leaders of tomorrow.”
The regional network – the first UN Global Compact regional network in Africa – will begin its activities with a high-level roundtable event on sustainable ocean business and the blue economy at the Making Global Goals Local Business – Africa event on 3 December 2020.
Global Compact Local Networks advance the UN Global Compact initiative and its Ten Principles at the local and country level around the world. As countries establish and enact national plans for achieving these Global Goals in the Decade of Action, Global Compact Local Networks in more than 70 countries provide the platform for business to engage with stakeholders from Government, the UN, civil society and communities to align their strategies.