On March 5th, the Global Compact Network Canada (GCNC), in partnership with Baker & McKenzie LLP and LexisNexis Canada hosted a consultation session on a new UN Global Compact (UNGC) initiative – Business for the Rule of Law. business for the rule of law
This Canadian consultation session, which is part of a global initiative that aims to mobilize the global business community in support of the Rule of Law, drew around 25 participants representing legal firms and various companies across Canada. business for the rule of law
The Head of the GCNC, Helle Bank Jorgensen was pleased with the success of the session: “I am impressed with the level of the engagement from all the attendees. The Rule of Law is clearly important for Canada and our companies. For the Global Compact Network Canada it is important to be able to bring global initiatives, like the Business for the Rule of Law initiative, to Canada and give Canada a strong voice globally. Thanks to a great partnership with Baker & McKenzie and LexisNexis we had very good participation and a discussion that I’m sure will continue in the months to come especially during the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals negotiations.”
What is the Rule of Law? business for the rule of law
The Rule of Law is a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. business for the rule of law
“The rule of law is essential for sustainable and inclusive economic growth,” said Ursula Wynhoven, General Counsel and Chief, Governance and Social Sustainability, UN Global Compact. “The rule of law fosters economic investment by increasing the security of contracts, lowering levels of corruption, and allowing for fair, timely, transparent and predictable resolution of disputes. It provides the foundation for respecting and supporting human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption considerations — consistent with the UN Global Compact’s ten principles.” business for the rule of law
Business for the Rule of Law: A UN Global Compact Initiative
The UNGC’s Business for the Rule of Law initiative was announced by the UN Secretary General in September 2013. The initiative’s purpose is to develop a framework on the business case, business actions and examples, as well as an interactive technology platform to promote how companies from diverse regions and sectors can take action – independently or collectively – to support the Rule of Law in their business operations and relationships. The initiative recommends business actions aim to be a complement to, rather than a substitute for, government action.
As the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated during a high-level event of the General Assembly on the Contributions of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Post-2015 Development Agenda (June 2014): “The Rule of Law, at the national and international levels, is both a development outcome in its own right and an enabler of other outcomes…The Rule of Law prevents corruption, illicit financial flows and transnational organized crime. At the international level, a fair rules-based multilateral trading system can facilitate equitable growth…”
To be effective, the Rule of Law requires measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency. With this in mind, the Business for the Rule of Law Steering Group, led by the UN Global Compact, is comprised of individuals with expertise from business, the legal profession and civil society committed to advancing the role of business in supporting the rule of law. business for the rule of law
The Canadian consultation is one of over 20 other consultations taking place in countries across the global. (A full list of consultation locations can be found here)
The UNGC will use the feedback provided in the consultations to finalize the framework in time for its official launch during the UN Global Compact’s 15th Anniversary celebration in New York, from June 23-25, 2015. business for the rule of law
For more information on this exciting initiative, please visit here.
Call to Action business for the rule of law
The Global Compact Network Canada would like to encourage any interested party to provide feedback on the framework by participating in an online consultation process.