First Russian meeting to support Annans Global Compact initiative held in Moscow

Addressing the first-ever meeting in the Russian Federation in support of the Global Compact, UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette told the participants that the United Nations of the 21st century would need to work with outside actors, in efforts like the Global Compact to improve the lives of ordinary people.In the area of labour standards, she said, businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, while working to eliminate forced and compulsory labour, child labour, and discrimination in the workplace. They should take a precautionary approach to the environment, promote greater responsibility, and encourage the use of environmentally friendly technologies. “The idea is to weave these principles into the fabric of existing trade rules, global markets and corporate practices,” Ms. Fréchette stressed. “The Global Compact is not a regulatory instrument or a legally binding code of conduct. Rather, the Compact is a voluntary initiative to promote good corporate citizenship.”In addition to establishing partnerships with labour and civil society organizations she encouraged companies to work with the UN and other development actors. An example of an area where the business community has worked in partnership with governments and the UN was the issue of HIV/AIDS, she said.Also addressing participants, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov added that expanded interaction between the UN and the private sector was in Russia’s interest. Following the round table, participants issued a statement expressing support for the Compact and welcomed Russia’s establishment of a web site to disseminate information about it.Today’s round table was organized jointly by the Foreign Ministry of Russia and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. read more

Ban deeply concerned at rising tension on Korean peninsula

Speaking at a joint press conference in Monaco with the Principality’s Minister of State and Chief of Government, Michel Roger, Mr. Ban cited the “very negative inflammatory rhetoric” coming from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as the main cause of the increasing tension. “I have been urging repeatedly that nuclear threat is not a game and they should fully abide by the relevant Security Council resolutions,” he stated.In February, the DPRK conducted its third, long threatened nuclear test, a move that was in violation of Security Council sanctions and drew widespread condemnation, including from Mr. Ban.The Secretary-General also voiced the hope today that the recent measure to restrict the movement of personnel and goods in and out of the Kaesong industrial complex in the DPRK will be lifted as soon as possible. DPRK has reportedly stopped nationals from the Republic of Korea from working at the Kaesong complex, one of the last remaining symbols of cooperation between the two countries. The complex is staffed mainly by DPRK nationals but funded and managed by firms from the Republic of Korea, according to media reports. On Tuesday, Mr. Ban stressed the current crisis on the Korean peninsula “has already gone too far,” following DPRK’s announcement that it will restart its Yongbyon nuclear reactor. He called for dialogue and negotiations, underlining that this is “the only way to resolve the crisis,” and expressed his readiness to help all the parties involved to this end.Before wrapping up his visit to Monaco, the Secretary-General and Mr. Roger also exchanged views on a number of other issues, including the ongoing crises in Syria and Mali, underscoring the urgency of doing more to also address the growing humanitarian needs arising from those situations. These crises, as well as the situation on the Korean Peninsula were also discussed today in Madrid during Mr. Ban’s meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. The Secretary-General told reporters at a joint press conference with the Prime Minister that peace and security on the Korean Peninsula has very serious regional, and even global, implications. “I am concerned that if by any misjudgement, by any miscalculation of the situation, if any unwanted crisis happens on the Korean Peninsula, this will have very serious implications,” he stated, adding that the parties should engage in dialogue to resolve all pending issues.While in Madrid, Mr. Ban also attended a high-level UN meeting on hunger, food security and nutrition, issued a call to action to make the most of the remaining 1,000 days to achieve the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and met with Crown Prince Felipe.Mr. Ban and the Prince of Asturias discussed the importance of accelerating efforts to reach the Goals, as well as the importance of the ongoing work to define a comprehensive development agenda beyond the 2015 deadline. They also exchanged views on DPRK and other matters. read more