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UN, Economic Agencies Seek Coherence at ECOSOC Meeting

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UN, Economic Agencies Seek Coherence at ECOSOC Meeting

UN, Economic Agencies Seek Coherence at ECOSOC Meeting

The Business Council for the UN participated as a business sector representative last week when the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) convened a two-day High Level Meeting with the Bretton Woods Institutions (World Bank and International Monetary Fund), the World Trade Organization, and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in NY March 10-11, 2011.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and senior officials of the agencies sought during two days of discussions to enhance coordination and coherence among the participating global institutions, as well as the G-8 and G-20, primarily via a review of implementation of the Monterrey Consensus of the International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD), adopted in 2002. Additionally, discussions focused on follow-up to the 2010 MDG Summit outcome and they also discussed expectations for the fourth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV), scheduled to take place in Istanbul, Turkey, May 9-13, 2011. Significant emphasis was given to the role of the UN system in global economic governance. There was much discussion of the need for reinvigorating development assistance and for donor countries to fulfill commitments -- even given the global economic crisis, a New International Development Architecture (NIDA) for LDCs, an “intensification of effort” required to conclude the Doha Development Round and concerning proposals for a financial transaction tax that have been embraced by a number of countries.

The BCUN made statements on both days, drawing the attention of officials and governments to the considerable giving to developing countries on the part of the private sector, and urging the discussants to take the role of the private sector into account in their deliberations. Private philanthropy and remittances from the developed to the developing world were nearly twice as much as government aid ($233 vs. $121 billion), according to the new 2010 Index of Global Philanthropy and Remittances published by Hudson Institute's Center for Global Prosperity. And, despite the recession, the U.S. Conference Board found in 2009 that many companies were still projecting robust giving. Total pharmaceutical and medical donations to the developing world was valued at $7 billion, based on U.S. tax filings for 2008 as measured by the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy that covered in-kind drugs and medical supplies plus transport and other handling costs incurred mostly by the corporations making these donations.

According to the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CEPC) in its Giving in Numbers report, Fortune 100 gave nearly one-fifth of its contributions to overseas recipients on average. CEPC also reported that the health care industry was the largest single corporate giving sector in 2008, directing 27% of its giving abroad.