"The Compact's legitimacy comes from its principles and its power comes from the actors it brings together.
And, working together, we can deepen the roots and practice of democracy and good governance."

(J. Baker, Co-ordinator, Council of Global Unions, October 2008)

In keeping with the UN Global Compact's voluntary and network-based character, the governance framework is light, non-bureaucratic and designed to foster greater involvement in, and ownership of, the initiative by participants and other stakeholders themselves. Governance functions are shared by seven entities, each with differentiated tasks within a multi-centric framework:

  • UN Global Compact Leaders Summit
  • Local Networks
  • Annual Local Networks Forum
  • UN Global Compact Board
  • UN Global Compact Office
  • Inter-Agency Team
  • UN Global Compact Donor Group

The role of each entity in the governance framework is as follows:

UN Global Compact Leaders Summit

The Leaders Summit is a triennial (next to be held in 2013) gathering of the top executives of all United Nations Global Compact participants and other stakeholders. As the largest gathering of its kind, the Leaders Summit represents a unique opportunity for UN Global Compact participants to discuss the project and corporate citizenship at the highest level, and to produce strategic recommendations and action imperatives related to the future evolution of the initiative.

More broadly, the Leaders Summit aims to deepen the commitment of participating leaders from business, labour and civil society to the UN Global Compact and its principles; to build and scale up momentum within the business sector; and to foster enabling environments and collective action.

Local Networks

Local Networks are groups of participants that come together to advance the United Nations Global Compact and its principles within a particular country or geographic region. They perform increasingly important roles in rooting the UN Global Compact within different national, cultural and linguistic contexts, and also in helping to manage the organizational consequences of the project's rapid expansion. Their role is to facilitate the progress of companies (both local firms and subsidiaries of foreign corporations) engaged in the Compact with respect to implementation of the ten principles, while also creating opportunities for multi-stakeholder engagement and collective action. There are currently more than 65 Local Networks around the world.

Apart from acting in accordance with the UN Global Compact's principles and objectives, Local Networks are self-governing. They have the opportunity to nominate members for election to the UN Global Compact Board, provide input on major activities undertaken by the UN Global Compact Office and convene the Annual Local Networks Forum. Their input is also sought on the agenda for the triennial Leaders Summit. Furthermore, Local Networks play an important role in support of the communications on progress and integrity measures. For more information, click here

Annual Local Networks Forum

The Annual Local Networks Forum is the main occasion for Local Networks from around the world to share experiences, review and compare progress, identify best practices, and adopt recommendations intended to enhance the effectiveness of Local Networks. The Forum is hosted by the Barcelona Center for the Support of the UN Global Compact. For more information, click here


UN Global Compact Board

UN Global Compact Board is a multi-stakeholder advisory body that meets annually (first meeting in June 2006) to provide ongoing strategic and policy advice for the initiative as a whole and make recommendations to the UN Global Compact Office, participants and other stakeholders. The Board is comprised of four constituency groups — business, civil society, labour and the United Nations — with differentiated roles and responsibilities apart from their overall advisory function. While the Board as a whole holds an annual formal meeting, the constituency groups are expected to interact with the UN Global Compact Office on an ongoing basis. The Secretary-General, the Chair of the Foundation for the UN Global Compact and the Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Office have ex-officio seats on the Board.

The 20 Board members are champions willing and able to advance the UN Global Compact's mission. Members of the Board act in a personal, honorary and unpaid capacity. Their Board membership does not render them UN officials.

Drawing in particular on the expertise and recommendations of its business members, the Board is also expected to play a role in the implementation of the UN Global Compact's integrity measures. In addition to their overall Board responsibilities, the civil society and labour constituency groups are expected to provide close liaison to their communities and share with the Board as a whole, and the UN Global Compact Office and Inter-Agency Team in particular, insights into the most recent trends and best practices of corporate citizenship in their respective domains. For more information, click here


UN Global Compact Office

The UN Global Compact Office is the UN entity formally entrusted with the support and overall management of the United Nations Global Compact initiative. It has received the endorsement of the UN General Assembly (A/RES/60/215) and has been given UN system-wide responsibilities for promoting the sharing of best practices. The UN Global Compact Office also has responsibilities with regard to advocacy and issue leadership, fostering network development and maintaining the Global Compact communications infrastructure. Furthermore, the UN Global Compat Office plays a central role in advancing the partnership agenda across the UN system and has overall responsibility for brand management and implementation of the integrity measures.

The UN Global Compact Office represents itself and the other members of the Inter-Agency Team on the Board. It also services the Leaders Summit, the UN Global Compact Board and the Annual Local Networks Forum.

Inter-Agency Team

Within the governance framework and daily operations of the initiative, the Inter-Agency Team is responsible for ensuring coherent support for the internalization of the principles within the United Nations and among all participants. The agencies most closely associated with the ten principles also have an advisory role with respect to the management of the integrity measures complaints procedure. Seven UN agencies are represented in the Inter-Agency Team. They are: l’UN Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), l’International Labour Organization (ILO), l’United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), l’United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), l’United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), l’United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) e l’United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). The Inter-Agency Team is represented on the UN Global Compact Board through the UN Global Compact Office's Executive Director. The seven core UN agencies participate in the Leaders Summit and the Annual Local Networks Forum. UN agencies, especially UNDP, also play a very important role in many Local Networks around the world.

UN Global Compact Donor Group

The UN Global Compact Office is funded by voluntary contributions from Governments to a UN Trust Fund. Contributions from any Government are welcome. Current Donors are: China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The Donor Group meets twice annually to provide strategic inputs about the iniziative coordination, monitor the progress and evaluate the effective and efficient use of the contributions that Donor Governments have made to the UN Global Compact Trust Fund. The Terms of Reference for the Donor Group can be downloaded here. Donors and other interested Governments meet periodically in New York to share updates on the initiative.