2005 is the year to act, says Global Governance Report

New Delhi, Jan 26 | Updated: Jan 27 2005, 07:16am hrs
A new report issued on Monday by the World Economic Forum gives evidence that the worlds leaders are breaking their promises to tackle global problems.

The second annual report of the forums global governance initiative (GGI) analyses progress towards realising the UNs Millennium Declaration Goals endorsed by leaders of 189 countries in 2000 and also shows that 2005 could be the year of change, especially if the considerable energies of private enterprise are harnessed more effectively.

The forums Global Governance Initiative monitors international progress in implementing the social, economic and environmental goals set forth in the declaration and other documents. The initiative aims to bring greater transparency to the efforts being made to achieve these goals by governments, international organisations, business and civil society.

Its Global Governance Report is based on independent analysis, undertaken over a period of one year, by seven groups comprising over 50 leading experts.

Although the responsibility rests primarily with governments, the report argues that the goals cannot be reached without the active participation of the private sector. A special chapter on the private sector shows that business can contribute in four crucial ways. First, by developing new products to tackle global challenges and finding profitable ways to deliver affordable goods and services to the poor.

Second, by undertaking hybrid business/philanthropic activities that have both social and business benefits, e.g., HIV/AIDS treatment programmes and public-private water partnerships. Third, with strategic corporate philanthropy and social investment, especially on issues most relevant to the particular companys expertise and other assets. And fourth, through responsible business engagement in public policy dialogue, rule-making and institution-building.

But the analysis shows that neither the public nor the private sector is doing enough. In a series of scores using a zero-to-ten scale, in all issue areas, from education to hunger to peace to human rights, less than half of what is needed, is being done (see chart). Enterprises that take these responsibilities seriously represent only a tiny fraction of the private sector.

Ann Florini, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, who directs the project, concludes: Economic integration, political liberalisation and technological innovation are creating all the right conditions for humanity to do much better.

But the opportunities could all too easily slip through our fingers. This report shows not only what we are leaving undone, but what we can now do.

Richard Samans, managing director of the forums Global Institute for Partnership and Governance remarked: The report makes clear that 2005 will be a make-or-break year for the millennium goals. Many of the goals have a deadline of 2015.

If the international community is going to take them seriously, it needs to begin applying much greater effort and partnership now.

Gareth Evans, president of the International Crisis Group and Chair of the GGIs expert group on peace and security, points out that the tsunami may help to generate much-needed support for better global collaboration. The recent response by international corporations to the tsunami disaster shows that the private sector has much to contribute toward global goals.

This years report has been released just ahead of the World Economic Forums annual meeting in Davos under the theme Taking Responsibility for Tough Choices. The findings will form a key part of the discussions at the meeting.