Panama Canal Authority Signs UN Global Compact

Friday, December 13, 2002
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) signed the Global Compact, an initiative that promotes Corporate Social Responsibility in the private sector worldwide. The Global Compact has the endorsement and strong support of United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Kofi Annan. Canal Administrator Alberto Aleman Zubieta said: "We at the ACP are honored to be a part of this historic initiative. For nearly one hundred years, the Panama Canal has been bringing nations closer together through commerce. Today, we join other international institutions who are committed to ensuring responsible global commerce that benefits the people of all nations."

UN Resident Coordinator Elizabeth Fong joined ACP Administrator Alberto Alemán Zubieta at the signing ceremony held in the Panama Canal Authority's Administration Building. With the signing of this significant pact, the ACP becomes the 40th Panamanian institution to sign onto the nine principles of the Global Compact. They are:

· #1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights within their sphere of influence; and · #2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses. · #3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; · #4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour; · #5: the effective abolition of child labour; and · #6: eliminate discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. · #7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges; · #8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and · #9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies

In 2001, Panama joined 10 other nations in a pilot program designed to realize Secretary General Annan's vision. The pilot program of local initiatives, known collectively as National Corporate Forums, serves as the nucleus of the Global Compact. "The Global Compact is an initiative that promotes Corporate Social Responsibility in this new global market structure. It is not a regulatory instrument and must not be seen as substitute to regulations established by nations and companies around the world. The Global Compact is an open proposal to motivate corporate initiative and pro-activity," said Fong following yesterday's ceremony.

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