"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
  • Country Networks
  • Annual Country Networks Forum
  • UN Global Compact Board
  • UN Global Compact Office
  • Inter-Agency Team
  • UN Global Compact Donor Group

UN Global Compact Leaders Summit

The Leaders Summit is an annual gathering during which the top executives of all United Nations Global Compact participants and other stakeholders discuss the project and the issues of corporate citizenship at the highest level, by producing strategic recommendations and planning collective action related to the future evolution of the initiative. 

Country Networks

Country 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 in helping to manage the organizational consequences of the project's rapid expansion. Their role is to facilitate the progress of companies engaged in the Compact with respect to the implementation of the Ten Principles, while also creating opportunities for multi-stakeholder engagement and collective action. There are currently more than 65 Country Networks around the world. They are self-governing and have the opportunity to nominate members for election to the UN Global Compact Board, participate to the Annual Country Networks Forum and provide input on major activities undertaken by the UN Global Compact Office.

Annual Country Networks Forum

The Annual Country Networks Forum is the main occasion for Country Networks from around the world to share experiences, review and compare progress, identify best practices, and adopt recommendations intended to enhance the effectiveness of Country Networks. 


UN Global Compact Board

UN Global Compact Board is a multi-stakeholder advisory body that meets annually 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. 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. Members of the Board are champions willing and able to advance the UN Global Compact's mission and they act in a personal, honorary and unpaid capacity. They also play a role in the implementation of the UN Global Compact's integrity measures. 
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 and has been given UN system-wide responsibilities for promoting and sharing the Ten Principles, 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.
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. Seven UN agencies are represented in the Inter-Agency Team: the UN Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). The Inter-Agency Team is represented on the UN Global Compact Board by the UN Global Compact Office's Executive Director. The seven core UN agencies participate in the Leaders Summit and in the Annual Country Networks Forum. UN agencies, especially UNDP, also play a very important role in many Country 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. 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 initiative 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.