Strong and result-oriented partnerships with the private sector and foundations have become critical for ESCAP in making a difference in the Asia-Pacific region. Such partnerships allow considerable leveraging of each partner’s unique strengths and resources.
Guidelines on Cooperation between the UN and the Business Community
The Guidelines provide a normative framework for such cooperation with the private sector while protecting the integrity and independence of the Organization.
The Guidelines define the Business Sector as:
- For-profit, and commercial enterprises or businesses;
- Business associations and coalitions including but not limited to corporate philanthropic foundations.
The Guidelines detail general principles that cooperative arrangements with private sector partners should espouse. Specifically, the arrangement has to advance UN goals and values, exhibit a clear delineation of roles and responsibilities between the parties involved, maintain the UN’s integrity and independence, avoid unfair advantages to any particular enterprise, and are transparent.
ESCAP follows the principles outlined in the “Guidelines on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Business Community”, issued by the UN Secretary-General in November 2009.
The UN Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. The UN Global Compact, launched by the UN Secretary-General in 1999, provides an overall point of reference for the Guidelines and UN Organizations selecting a business partner.
The collaborative partnerships pursued by ESCAP with the private sector and non-governmental organizations focus on policy dialogues, exchange of knowledge, advocacy and strategic information, networks, and financial support.
Key partners of ESCAP include:
ESCAP and Google work together to support ESCAP member States to leverage technology for sustainable development. ESCAP and Google produced a series of case studies showcasing successful models of applying artificial intelligence (AI) for improved public services in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. The report aims to fill the gap and features insights as well as context-specific recommendations from deployments of AI in a variety of sectors: health, justice, agriculture, environment, insurance and social welfare. ESCAP and Google put forward recommendations for governments to develop frameworks to regulate these public-private partnerships and encourage more public information on AI projects to foster a landscape conducive to informed decision-making on AI partnerships.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supports development work in over 100 countries focusing on global development, health, and policy and advocacy. The Gates Foundation is the key partner of ESCAP supports supporting the pro-poor and solid waste management programme. Under this programme, ESCAP has established Integrated Resource Recovery Centers (IRRC) in a number of Asian cities that handle organic waste. Only about 20-30 % of the waste is recycled in the developing Asian countries and waste is managed mostly by the informal sector that does not have the capacity to handle organic waste. The IRRC are decentralized centers that have compost plants. The main value-added is that IRRC are proven to be self-sustainable and they reduce greenhouse gas emissions. IRRCs are also an income source for urban dwellers as they offer more stable income and safer working condition.
The Rockefeller foundation was founded in 1913 for promoting the well-being of humanity around the world by enabling individuals and institutions to access new tools, practices and resources. The foundation has supported ESCAP’s programme on to develop capacity of urban poor communities for climate change adaptation and resilience.
Some deliverables under this programme include the Asia-Pacific Urban Forum and the Quick Guide on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience in Urban Poor Communities in Asia Pacific. The Quick Guide, which is a joint product developed by ESCAP, UNHABITAT and the Rockefeller Foundation, will equip the policy makers with measures and tools to address all climate change-related impacts, including flooding, typhoons, drought, heat islands, erosion and related adaptation issues, such as health and food security, livelihoods, basic infrastructure and services, eco-systems based adaptation and disaster preparedness.
The Hilti Foundation, established in 1996, is a charitable organization by the Martin Hilti trust. ESCAP and the Hilti foundation work together in conducting research and implementing housing that is environmentally friendly and affordable to all income groups. This is done by identifying building materials that are affordable, eco-efficient and disaster resilient. For ensuring the long-term sustainability of the project, establishment of social enterprises that produce the building materials is at the core of the project strategy. ESCAP will take a major part in the management of the project and coordinating the multi-stakeholder process whereas the Hilti foundation provides financial support and takes the lead in implementing the technical research and the business plan development. Another implementing partner is the Homeless People’s Federation Philippines, where the pilot project is being tested. The expected results of the project are (a) a significant amount of new eco-friendly and disaster-resilient houses, (b) establishment of new social enterprises and (c) ensuring the funding of grassroots organizations that play a crucial role in the project.
The Goldman Sachs Foundation
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is an American global investment banking, securities and investment management firm founded in 1869. In 2008, the Goldman Sachs Foundation launched a women’s empowerment project that provides 10,000 women from developing countries with business education in order to enhance their economic empowerment. ESCAP has acknowledged the potential to benefit from the knowledge of the Goldman Sachs “10,000 Women” initiative in fostering business skills for women's entrepreneurship. In addition to financial support, the ESCAP-Goldman Sachs Foundation partnership builds on both partners' experience in promoting gender equality and women's empowerment at country and regional levels.